RELAXATION AT YOUR DOOR

Hello beauties! Happy Sunday! & Happy December! There are not many people that would argue that massages & facials are the best way to instant relaxation. With the constant busy schedules and stressful economy that we all have, massage treatments are the best way to escape the everyday stresses of life. Taking care of your mind, body and spirit are three very important factors for me. We all love a good spa treatment. I emphasize to all my clients It’s so important to make some time for yourself on a regular basis and de-stress! It’s so important to have a little peace and quiet, and do something for yourself! Whether it’s a massage, facial, makeup application, yoga session, whatever!

When I booked my vacation to Cabo last summer, I knew that I would love to incorporate a massage into my trip. Vacation and relaxation are two words that definitely go hand in hand. I get a massage often back at home, but this was more of an ‘experience’. The atmosphere is so incredible and spending 90 minutes on the beach, next to ocean, receiving a massage was probably the most relaxing sensation ever. It wasn’t too hot because I received it in the morning when the sun wasn’t so strong, and the breeze from the ocean made it feel like there was a cool fan blowing on me the entire massage.199477_10150148382463178_3682231_n

My girlfriend Jessica, treated us to a 60 minute massage at Marlene Weber Day Spa in Poughkeepsie for my last birthday. We definitely enjoyed it. The wait was longer than I anticipated, we sat in our robes for 30 minutes before the session began but we did enjoy a nice cup of tea and some fruit while waiting. We got a couples massage (lol) cute idea for best friends! We received sweedish massages which are my favorite, because its not too rough so I’m relaxed the whole time, but firm enough to get the knots out! The staff was very friendly and the spa was also relaxing.

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But lets face it ladies & gents, spa treatments and in general massages are a great way to relax but it all depends on as to how comfortable you are. When it comes to pampering, there is NO place like home. I prefer getting treatments done right in the luxury of my house. Sometimes I do want a traditional spa day, but luckily for me, my cousin is a massage therapist and my friend Jessica is an esthetician. When I book appointments with them to come over, they bring the high-end spa works. Massage tables, sheets, Egyptian cotton towels, sumptuous oils, candles, spa music and personalized services. An in home massage enables you to really prolong your relaxation. My cousin practices Swedish, Deep tissue, Reflexology and Reiki on me. At home massages are fantastic and I feel so comfortable and relaxed throughout the whole session. The lights are dimmed, soothing music plays, and soft candles are lit. I can’t imagine anything more perfect, being in the comfort of your own home, can you? I do enjoy the spa, but who wants to drive home after a 90 minute massage or facial? At home, you have nowhere to go after. No traffic. No driving. Just get yourself ready for a massage and benefit from the treatment session. At home, my stress level is down and I feel much more relaxed. After a massage and/or facial at home, I take a warm bath after to further my relaxation. Relaxing requires focusing your attention within and withdrawing it from your senses and the external world. After that and a cup of tea, I’m ready for bed! I couldn’t ask for a better experience. Massage in general at home or at the spa is good for stress relief, managing anxiety and/or depression, pain, blood pressure, injuries, cancer treatment, and boosting immunity.

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If your goal in getting a facial is just to be pampered, chances are good that you’ll find what you’re looking for. So relaxing! For others, a facial is primarily a way to improve the look of their skin. Skin is very important to me, especially being a makeup artist! It’s the canvas to my art! Facials are believed by many to fix these common skin problems. Exfoliation, with astringents, masks or peels, can reach deep into the skin’s upper layer to strip away dead skin cells and reveal newer cells underneath. When I make appointments with my friend Jessica, she comes over and turns my living room into the ultimate spa. She came over tonight for my monthly at home facial. She carries over her table, steamer, lights, music, etc. She starts off with a consultation every time, targeting your skin’s problem areas. Based off that, she’ll decide which products to use. She normally does a glycolic peel to my face (it burns A LOT, but that means it’s eating the dead skin cells away, I like to think of it as a Pac Man affect) and we end it off applying a cooling mask. We usually rotate masks. My favorite she uses is the seaweed mask. Tonight she used Hylunia’s Papaya Enzyme mask. While the mask is on she massages you, which puts me right to sleep. There is nothing better than getting this done in the comfort of your own home! Especially during the holidays, the Christmas decor adds a nice touch. 

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If this just isn’t for you, there is a lot of home treatments you can make an apply to yourself! I’ll add some that I use, so you can try if interested.

  • You can create a spa experience at home, using salts and adding essential oils to your bath tub. I buy a lot of aromatherapy candles to make the air aromatic and stress free. It’s so relaxing about taking a nice hot bath in the dark with the flickering candles!
  • Creating a hydrating cooling mask by blending a little cold cream, yogurt, aloe vera gel, honey and avocado. Apply with a clean fan brush, and letting sit for 20 minutes.
  • Oil up your skin using your favorite oils. Read my last post about this!
  • Combine cold cream, two drops of tea tree oil, five drops of lavender oil, a spoonful of olive oil into a blender. Once it’s all nice and smooth, lather all over your hands and feet! Put on rubber gloves and white socks for the softest hands and feet ever!
  • Deep condition your hair using coconut oil ! Also mentioned in my last post
  • Warm up your favorite lotion while your in the shower, nothing better than rubbing in heated, soothing lotion

Although I love my at home pamper days, sometimes it is nice to just get out of the house and enjoy the perks of getting pampered at a spa too. My favorite spas in my area are La Tua Bella beauty bar, Marlene Weber & Haven Spa.

Jessica is currently booking at home facial parties, so perfect for this season! I can not emphasize enough how lovely this is! Hour and ten minutes of pure BLISS. I’m absolutely going to host a facial party at my house for all my girl friends, once my schedule calms down a bit. Michelle also does onsite massages and will book parties. For information on at home massages and facials please feel free to contact me so I can forward your their information so you can book your party or at home treatment ! If your not local or from the area then try contacting your local spa. They sometimes have someone that free lances for them or that will do on site work. Also, Please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t yet! I just got an AMAZING brazilian blowout this past week and will be doing a post about that too since so many people ask me about it! Here’s some photos below from my friend Kyra’s beautiful winter wonderland wedding last night! Oh & Heather’s spiked Louboutins.. lol she has every pair I want! Have a great week 🙂

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XO,

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GIVE BIG! SHOP SMALL, SHOP LOCAL!

Hello beauties! I don’t usually do posts on Tuesdays, but waking up this morning to a light snow fall, with my house fully decked out in Christmas decor, definitely put me in the Holiday spirit and inspired me to do a post. This holiday season, I’m feeling some changes. In my business of blogging, being an artist in the makeup industry, organizing events, etc. it can become a bit tiring focusing on things all the time. Things you may ask? By things, I mean the perfect gift guides, the what do i wear to holiday parties, and the latest little must-haves whether it be the hottest new makeup pallets, tools for my kit, or gifts for friends and family. It can become over exhausting financially and physically. So I decided to change things up a bit, and do things a little differently this year. When holiday shopping, I’m choosing to make an important investment in our community! From interesting, brilliant crafted products to original, personal services, my experiences at my favorite small businesses leave me pleased constantly. I’ve met some incredible and inspiring self employed, business owners who are inspiring me to do this post. 
 
GIVE BIG! SHOP SMALL, SHOP LOCAL!
 
Now obviously big businesses are essential to our economy too, since they of course employ locally and give back to the communities, so I’m definitely not trying to bash the big guys here. But this season, I’m going to make the effort to discover some of these unique, admirable additions for gifts to my loved ones. Instead of making your gift guides based on what we normally would, lets try to purchase from our favorite small shops. My favorite small businesses definitely include
Salon 52,
La Tua Bella beauty bar (which you can read about in my previous postings),
Maizies Tea Room,
Cupcake Confessions by Miss V,
and Simply Bee~utiful. 
The Pottery Shack! My friend Marissa’s aunt owns a local pottery shop, we went there and painted our own pottery. It was so much fun, relaxing and I love my tea pot I created myself!
 
I asked some of my readers what their favorite small businesses were and here were some listed:
Gypsy Warrior Boutique, Pink Jewels, PoshBoutique Montville, MSV, Nutz, Joe’s dairy bar, Brassiere 292, Tiramisu restaurant, Steven Amendola, Marlene Weber, Alto music, Tuminaro’s Pharmacy, Rock and Snow, Dedrick’s, Rossi’s deli, Tay, Catbirdnyc.com which features jewelry made by local NYC makers, Beacon bath & bubble featuring all home made bath products from soaps, salts, scrubs, lotions and tons of delicious scents, made with all organic ingredients that are good for your skin, nellys, dana bands, Doughty plumbing & heating, Shadows, Beacon delights for candles, Osmia Organics for natural skincare products, Cocktail perfume, Cesare & Lilly, Babylonian Soap Company, Farmie Market& the list goes ON! 
Not familiar with Osmia Organics? Love her soaps! Watch this video and get familiar!
Here is a head piece I wore today, I bought locally and it was hand made, but forgive me I threw out the tag and CAN NOT remember for anything who made it. :/ But I LOVE it! Perfect for this wintery day!
 
I hope some of you reading this, are willing to support and hop on the small business train for some of your Christmas shopping this year !
 
Now, for those of us who have limited time or limited budgets, can find great items & more affordable, yet comparable substitutions at our local drugs stores. My favorite foundation is Makeup Forever Hd foundation retailed at $42 at Sephora. I am VERY particular and fussy when it comes to foundations. I need something smooth, non clogging, lightweight yet getting great coverage without feeling like your wearing a mask. The ONLY drugstore foundation I found very comparable to makeup forever’s foundation is Maybelline New York Fit Me! Foundation retailing at only $8 !!! I have every shade of this foundation and absolutely love it. 
 
I also love It’s a 10 Miracle conditioner retailing at $16 for 5 oz. At Walmart I grabbed L’Oreal EverCreme intense nourishing conditioner retailing at $6 for 8.5 oz. I LOVE IT! It’s sulfate-free and is filled with natural omegas infusing moisture into the hair. Make sure to always get Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. 
 
Rather than spending a fortune in Teavana which I’m 100% guilty of, purchase local tea at Harney & Sons. Based out of Millerton, NY, they also opened up a shop in SoHo, NY you can read all about Harney & Son’s story here: http://www.harney.com/blog/our-tradition-of-tea/
 
My collection of Karuna facial masks. Retails online for $28 a box of 4, BUT found at Marshalls for $12 😉
 
Happy holiday shopping! Time for facial masks and tea time. Here are a few photos that I recently received in my email from jobs the past couple weeks. Enjoy beauties! 
screen shot from music video last week I did makeup, hair  & grooming for
In action shot of the bride’s mother in law last week, taken from Gary of Christine Studios.. one of my favorite wedding photographers!
Beautiful shot from one of my past bride’s Dina… Unsure of the photographers name but as soon as I find out I will credit them! Makeup by me, Hair by Annaliese Tatulli
Love this bride! Gorgeous vintage look. Makeup by me hair by Nicole Naccarato
So much more to come! Xo

Eyes Need Special Care

Hello beauties! Thank you for reading 🙂 This week has been crazy, busy and so hectic! It feels amazing to wind down with an exfoliating facial on, and lay on my couch with my furry friends. This week was filled with bridal makeup… Weddings, trials, more weddings, & more trials. I’m now booking bridal makeup for 2013. I am happy to announce that I am soon to be, a featured vendor on The Knot! The knot is an exclusive website that contains everything you need to plan your wedding. Dresses, ideas, photos, vendors, inspirations, etc. I’m currently in the process of setting up my profile, but by next week it should be up. My profile will also be featured on Kleinfeld’s site, which carries the largest selection of beautiful, couture wedding dresses and gowns. I quickly posted Friday morning, of an incredible wedding video which I did makeup for. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do! The video was done beautifully by Moving Pictures. Definitely made me cry both times I watched it. Sniff, sniff. 
Here is flowers from Friday’s wedding, perfect for Fall and so pretty! And photo of Saturday’s bride, Lindsay. I love her! Also a photo of Erin, one of my past brides who just got her professional photos back!
          
 
I can finally say that I have completed all my weddings for October. I only have a few weddings booked for next month and the following. During the winter months is when I’m really recommending my future brides to set up trials, while I have the open slots and free time available. Because once spring comes, I’m back in full force busy for the wedding season. Seems that everyone is getting engaged! If you are, or know anyone that is please send them my way and have them check out my site if your in the tri-state area 🙂 When wedding season comes to an end, it allows me to pick up jobs doing makeup for runway shows, commercials, events, films and shoots. I have a lot of exciting projects coming up within the next two months, which I can’t wait to share with you when the time comes 🙂 Besides from bridal makeup, I’ve done my fair share of Halloween makeup this month and I’m finding a lot of my clients wanting completely different haircuts and styles for fall! It’s nice to change it up! I’m working on Halloween this year, so I had to celebrate my Halloween last night. I went to Studio square in Long Island city. Music was so good, view was gorgeous, the set up was done great and we got there early to enjoy all the drink specials. Through out the night it got busy but wasn’t too crowded where you can’t breath or move, thank god because I like my space, nothing worse than a room filled with hot, sweaty strangers in costumes dancing and rubbing against you. ugh! Music by Ed Polido & then Miss Jennifer. ❤  
 
                Follow me on Instagram @Alexgill ! 
 
I decided to be a kitten, since 1. I only had 10 minutes (literally!) to figure out a costume and throwing on old black leggings from Metropark a couple years back and a black tank top were KEY &  2. all my friends and coworkers have been calling me the “cat lady” since I rescued these adorable two little kittens that were living in my yard. I just HAD to take them in, it was getting so cold out and it’s been so rainy, they would crawl up into my car to stay warm from the heat in my engine. What kind of person would I be to deny these cute little creatures a warm, loving home, as they sat outside my windows looking in?! I had to keep them. When we took them to the vet, he said that there was quite and age difference (buddah just over 6 months and banks around 2-3 months) and also informed me that they were not liter mates, and told me how incredibly rare it is for these two stray kittens to find each other, and interact with each other becoming best friends. Once I took them for shots, and brought them inside I had to introduce them to my pup Sonny. He adores them. He’s so gentle with them and I’m pretty positive he thinks he’s the kitten’s mother, which is perfectly okay with me. 
 
              
 
Friday night, my good friend Monica and I attended a fundraising event at Marlene Weber Day Spa, in Poughkeepsie. We purchased a $25 ticket which was donated to Miles of Hope and included two complimentary services, along with raffles, food and cocktails. Is that an amazing deal, or what?! Even better, since it goes to such a great cause. Of course for one of my services, I booked a massage, hunching over all day doing makeup is obviously not the best posture for my back. For my second service, I booked an eyebrow grooming with my glamorous friend Stephanie (who has the best brows EVER may I add) If you need your brows waxed and groomed and you live near the Poughkeepsie area, I definitely recommend you going to her. We all know how important our brows are, which frame our faces! Remember thin, is NOT in anymore. This year full, thick brows is what it’s about. So try to grow those brows in and go get them shaped! I wish I took more photos of the event, but I was too busy indulging delicious food, complements of Rossi’s, Brasserie, La Puerta Azul and more. To make the night even better, I won a raffle for a wash, cut & blow-dry and waxing. Oh la la! I never win raffles so I was beyond excited. Marlene Weber Day Spa was also offering 20% off gift cards, and since my birthday is next month, why not treat myself to an early birthday gift?! I purchased an $80 service for $64. Good deal! Over all Beauty Night Out was a success, many donations made to Miles of Hope, I won a raffle, and got to enjoy time with my girlfriends while being pampered!
        Fall headband piece perfect for these cold months ahead!
 
 
So how do I cut & style multiple clients hair,  do makeup trials on my future brides, apply makeup to brides and their full bridal parities, wander off to NYC, attend beauty fundraising events, along with many meetings, dinner dates and errands in between without looking tired, even though I’m BEYOND EXHAUSTED? By taking special care of your eyes of course! 
 

The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face so it requires special attention! Dark under-eye circles can make young people look old and tired. Womp womp. They can be treated very successfully with prescription topical creams and lasers. But I obviously prefer natural eye care. 

 

Puffiness: under eye puffiness can be caused by a variety of reasons including diet, allergies or extra fluid in your system. In the morning to treat puffiness, Splash your face with very cold water. Tap gently around your eyes to help move away fluid in eyes. gently press along your eyebrow and around your eye socket with your middle. Place a cold compress under your eyes for 15 minutes. I like to use cold green tea bags that i keep in the freezer over night or cold cucumber slices. Tannin, which is found in teabags, will lower the swelling and discoloration around the eyes. You need to place two teabags in the fridge overnight to chill them; in the morning, get them damp, and then lie down with them on your eyes. Keep your eyes closed and body still for 10 to 15 minutes each day – you’ll see results immediately 🙂 If you don’t have teabags, use an ice cube wrapped in a cloth. Never put ice directly onto the skin around your eye because it can cause blood vessels to burst, which causes more dark circles and discoloration.

 

Dark circles: The skin under the eyes is so thin that in some people the blood passing through the teeny tiny veins near the surface show through, giving that area a bluish or gray cast aka dark circles.  Heredity, fatigue and illness and make under eye circles dark as well. Sleep and concealer is the best options. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Beauty sleep is NO MYTH! If you want to look good, do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep. And perhaps invest in 100% silk pillowcases. Always use natural eye creams morning and night. 

 

Lush lashes: All your hair, grows in cycles. Eyelashes grow for approximately six months then falls out by a new lash. Never rub your eyes. Even when removing makeup. Be gentle. Before bed, treat your lashes with castor oil or other light oils to keep them clean and conditioned. A friend recommended I try a product called Lash Max which was a conditioner for your eye lashes making them grow longer and healthier. I tried it for about a month and loved it. 

 

Remember to always wear sunglasses in the sun. One of your best beauty tools. It also prevents crow’s feet and eye wrinkles! I like the eye cream by Hylunia and Lilly B. Lily B has a great natural eye cream I adore, which is infused with vitamin K and arnica that helps reduce any puffiness and under eye circles! Lily.B Skincare Multi-Action Rescue Ultra Eye Cream is a great eye cream for those looking to remedy tired, puffy eyes. It’s non-jar packaging makes it an eye cream I highly recommend to anyone!

 

My favorite under eye concealer is Erase Paste by benefit. which is a concentrated, creamy brightening concealer for eyes and face. Application is key. Use your finger and pat the product from the inside corner of the eye and out to give a smooth, natural coverage. You only need a little because too much concealer can actually bring focus to the under eye area. Always start with an eye cream first to hydrate the eye area before applying concealer so it goes on smoothly and evenly. For extreme under eye darkness, start with a concealer that is pink or peach in color. Pink concealers help to brighten a dark blue or purple under-eye, and peach colored concealers brighten a green or gray under-eye. Don’t use a beige or white concealer, It’s only going to make the darkness look gray.  Once you have applied the pink or peach, layer concealer that matches your skin tone on top. Dust the under-eye with a sheer, pale yellow powder to help to set the product and make sure it doesn’t crease. 

 

Okay, time to remove my facial mask off and get my blankets ready to sleep on the couch, with my tea! Everyone be safe during this hurricane sandy storm! Hopefully it doesn’t hit us too hard. Perfect opportunity to stay inside and enjoy “me” time! Xoxo 

Laura’s Bridal Video

Just a little something to hold you over until Sunday’s post. This video is the most impressive video I’ve seen documenting a wedding. Moving Pictures created this bridal video for Laura. I did her wedding makeup as you’ll see in the video, and Chelsea Harris did her bridal hair! Her wedding looked so incredibly beautiful. This is definitely a tear jerker, so please have a tissue present! I’ll post this on my bridal page also.. Off to do weddings all weekend ! Enjoy 🙂