Before and After Makeup Trial with Artistic Beauty Nelson

Every now and then someone comes into the store, clutching a freshly printed batch of business cards, and asks me to recommend their bridal makeup service to my clients. [Pretty much on the strength of how their own makeup looks that day, and  “taking their word for it” about how awesome they are.] Over the years, I’ve learned that fancy business cards, pretty websites, and even a massive kit-full of makeup are no indicator of the skill of the artist. The proof is always in the results, which is why Karyn Stratford of Artistic Beauty Nelson was my first pick for this project.

The original plan was simply to do another before and after series, and let the results speak for themselves.  The problem is that when you have a great photographer, even without stooping to any “grumpy-faced, poorly lit before photo” tricks, and being REALLY careful to keep the lighting and pose the same,[I THOUGHT I was smiling both times] tiny changes mean the before and after images are close, but still different.

So, we hit on the idea of just doing a half-face, with the before and after right there, side by side.

I’m so glad we did it that way. I honestly would not have believed the difference subtle shading, contouring and use of colour makes.

If all I’d had was a finished face to compare with what I know I usually look like, I’d have been incredibly impressed, but for a really good example of what I’d have missed, take a look at the eyebrows.

The subtle, subtle contouring of the eyebrow on the right frames my face – and on a whole face, I’d not have noticed anything specifically different. There were so many little subtleties that quietly contributed to the overall gorgeousness, and it’s that kind of attention to detail that makes such a difference.

And, and, take a look at those lashes! We had quite a discussion about the pros and cons of false lashes [anytime you get a celebrant, a makeup artist, and a wedding photographer in the room, the disaster stories are always going to be interesting!] Good false lashes are glamorous and gorgeous, but, just like false nails, they need special care and attention, and sometimes the removal can be problematic.

These aren’t false lashes – but it did take more than just a bottle of lash plumping mascara to get that kind of volume.

And, and, and, check the optical -illusion-embiggened eye. [I measured and they’re the same size!]

Without resorting to any over-the-top, obvious effects, Karyn’s made my eyes look bigger and clearer. Zooming out, as part of the overall look, this eye makeup is balanced and pretty subtle. I’m kind of wondering what would have happened if we’d gone for a dramatic eye effect!

Moving right along…

Karyn made my well-worn skin look so good, I’m in awe. To get that kind of coverage in my own bathroom takes a lot of faffing about with concealer, foundation and powder, and ends in a distinctly ‘made-up’ look. This, by contrast, was incredibly light and smooth – from the inside, it felt like I’d brushed on a bit of bronzer, and that was all. The mineral makeup also works as a UV block, so there’s no greasy sunblock shine on the day and no zinc reflecting back the flash for the photos.

A few second’s attention to my neck and decolletage quietly smoothed out my irregular tan, and softened the blotchy redness. Again, it’s so subtle you probably don’t notice it on its own, but it made such a difference. It’s worth considering a quick brush-over for the guys, too – without leaving them ‘made-up’ you can balance out any redness etc – after all, he’s going to be in as many close-up shots as you are! [more about that another day!]

As an aside, I thought Karyn was joking when she said she’d have a lippy testing mark on the back of her hand all day, but that lipstain lasted through several cups of coffee, lunch, dinner, and much cheek kissing, to be still visibly on my lips at bedtime!

Finally, contouring. Subtle use of colours to bring out my cheekbones [Yes, I have some!]  and to hide my double chins [Yeah, I have some of those too!].  The process of colour matching was so effortless [on my part, at least]. I wasn’t aware of any agonising over which colours would match my skin tones – which is, perhaps where experience plays the biggest role – although Karyn has never made up my face before, there was no time when I was aware of her having to second guess or re-do any of the colours. And yet, they’re perfectly matched – no tidelines, no frantic blending, nothing.

The overall finished look:

I’ve already burbled on quite a bit, so just a few final things:

I went from the makeup chair out into my day: a couple of gown fittings, a bit of shopping, I washed the dog, chatted and cheek kissed my way through a cocktail get together, spent some time on a boat, out in the wind and sun, changed my clothes several times, and found myself in front of the bathroom mirror, pleasantly surprised to be STILL looking this good. No mascara flakes, no eyeliner smears, lipstain still hanging in there. And even more pleasantly, a simple warm flannel took it all off without any bother at all.

Good makeup: Goes on easily, looks gorgeous in person and on camera, stays on all day, comes off just as easily.
And now you know where to find it!

Huge thanks to Karyn for her time and expertise, and to Sandra, for documenting it for us!


2012 Springtime Sample Sale

With all the beautiful new 2013 season gowns arriving at The Corner Store, I’m looking around The Store and once again thinking… there are just too many gowns here!

Since I’m not keen to repeat the ‘so many gowns the racks fell off the wall and broke’ adventure of earlier this year, the logical solution is to throw a sale. So… here are a few of my personal favourites – loads more styles and bargains in store!

You can find photos of some of these beautiful gowns on my pinterest board, but the best way is to come into the store and view them for yourself!

Please see below for sale T&C

Sample Gown: Jasmine F274R
Grecian style gown in chiffon. Sweeping Empire/A-line gown. Sweetheart neckline, button over zip back with button detail all the way down the train. Little sparkle detail under bust.
size 16
RRP$1790   SALE PRICE:  $650

Sample Gown: Jasmine F304
Heavy satin fitted ruched gown with flared skirt. Flower and diamante belt and detachable one shoulder strap. Button over zip back.
size 14
RRP $1750  SALE PRICE: $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Nadia
Silk satin gown with ruched bodice and A-line skirt. Sequin detailing. Zip Back.
Size 14
RRP$2,200 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Cicily
Grecian Style with lots of sparkle, wide shoulder straps with diamante and crystal detailing on shoulder and at waist. Silk georgette overlay and train.
size 16
RRP $2380 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal V125
Pretty, delicate lace gown, strapless satin undergown with heather lace overlay
Ivory and Silver
size 12
RRP $1860 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal v202
Structured, fitted gown with long sweeping train. Zip back.
Cream size 12 RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $550

Sample Gown: BelllaDonna Calllie
Vintage classic A-line gown with wide corded lace and ribbon wrap at waist. Zip back. Ruffled chiffon over bust, satin and chiffon skirt.
Ivory with latte ribbon
size 14
RRP $1650 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: BellaDonna Jana
Corded lace empire line gown with ribbon under bust, wide straps and deep V neckline
size 10
RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: SylviaRose Amber
Chiffon over satin gown, lace up back, heavily embroidered over bodice, with chiffon wrapping detail. Long train with beautiful embroidered detail
size 14
RRP $1640 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: Sugar and Spice 6211
Satin and organza gown with diamante and glass crystal beading under bust and at hip.
size 10
RRP $1920 SALE PRICE $660

And there are so many more I can’t find pictures for just now!

The Fine Print

Please note that these gowns have been our store samples, and may have been tried on by many people. Most sample gowns are as good as new,and all are definitely discounted [most priced below cost – up to 70% off RRP!]

Gowns are offered for sale on an ‘as is, where is’ basis. Cleaning, or any alterations for fit or hem is not included in the price of a sample sale gown.

The terms of this sale are strictly ‘first come, first served’, no holds or layby available, sorry.

Hypoxi Update

I posted earlier that I’m trialling Hypoxi to see how their claims of fast fat reduction and bodyshaping stack up in real life. I’m amazed to see how many people are following my progress, and awed to know how many people have rocked up for their first [free] session, even before the after photos are up!

I’m halfway through a 12 session program, and here’s what’s happened so far:

My program is one hour of Hypoxi, three times a week, with the only real diet recommendation being a 4 hour no-carbs window after sessions. I’m not on any specific diet, and though I’m working on cutting out the junk carbs [biscuits and chips between meals] I’m still eating spuds at dinner, and cereal at breakfast. I’m feeling very hungry at mealtimes, and, since I lack any kind of self-discipline in this regard, I’m eating much more. Luckily it’s getting on for Summer, so I’m making massive salads to go with my normal dinners.

Having said all that, the night before my halfway weigh and measure, I still made myself a plate of peanut butter toast before going off to bed… Long story short, I’m really not on anything remotely resembling a diet or eating plan.

It’s all a bit easy – pull on the Michelin man suit, and read or chat or watch telly for half an hour, then switch to the trainer, where I read or watch telly [I’m not supposed to chat, because it artificially raises your heart rate, and the machine thinks you’re tired and slacks off, or something!] while my legs go round and round inside the vacuum. I’ve not yet felt particularly like I’m exercising – a gym work out this definitely is not! But I AM feeling the after effects, particularly through my butt and thighs, on my off days, and I can feel my belly muscles coming back online, which is all awesome.

But what we all really want to know is: Is there any measurable change?

Really? After three hours of passive massage, and another  three hours of low resistance cycling? What on earth would you be expecting? Well… I wasn’t expecting this!

My weight has dropped by almost 1 KG. [In spite of my excellent eating plan. I wonder what would have happened if I’d actually, like, put some effort in there!?!]  My measurements [details below so you can check my math] have changed a lot – I’ve dropped 4cm in my waist, 4.3 cm around my belly, just on a centimetre from my hips and thighs, and my personal favourite, 1.4cm from my chubby little knees. Total cm loss across my waist to knee measurements 16.5 cm.

I got Nicola to set the tape to my original belly measurements, and discovered that 4.3 cm is enough room to comfortably slip a thumb in on either side! Based on what I’ve learned fitting bridal gowns, that’s already a half dress size – not enough to start buying the next size down, but certainly enough that my current size is fitting better.

No photos this time – we’re saving that for the big reveal, but I’ve already been wearing above the knee skirts and fitted waist tops, and while there’s not a ‘massively obvious to the rest of the world’ difference, I’m really, really happy with the results so far.  It’s my understanding that this cm loss is due to fat shifting and new muscle/skin tone, and not just fluid loss, and that the results will be definitely long lasting. I’m already plotting to come back and remeasure 10 days after my final session to test this out, too.

Intrigued enough to want to try it? You absolutely should!

I’m not sure how it works in the rest of the country, but in Nelson, Nicola will gladly show you around and offer you a free trial session, so you can get the feel of the ‘workout’ before you sign up. During October and November, if you buy a 12 session pack, you’ll get an additional 3 sessions free, plus another three free sessions if you refer a friend who also signs up for 12 – that’s a whopping 18 sessions for the price of 12.

If Ang’s Patented Lazy Hypoxi Method just seems too easy, try the summer body blitz pack  – 12 Hypoxi sessions, PLUS 8 group Personal Training sessions [$499 for 4 weeks – I make that only $25/session!]

The body blitz starts Nov. 12th, and places are limited, so book now! Hypoxi sessions by appointment Mon/Wed/Fri and group personal training 6.30 am Tues/Thurs with certified trainer Amber Tate at the Botanical Gardens.

Go on, give Nicola a call on 546 8126, or message her on Facebook and at least try it out!


Actual measurements:
Waist 83.5- 79.5  Stomach 96.9- 92.6 Hips 100.6- 99.4 Bottom 103.8- 101.8 Legs 101.5- 101.5 Relaxed Leg 59.6- 58.6 Contracted Leg 62.8- 60.2 Knee 38.8- 37.4 

Unveiling the Veil

I’m sitting at my desk, in the midst of a chaos of order forms, tape measures, fabric swatches, and thinking that if I’m having this much trouble figuring out which veil is which, then maybe it’s time to shine a little light on the subject!

For what’s more or less a flimsy piece of flyaway tulle, it’s sure not anywhere near that simple!

But let’s start there – with the tulle. I’m looking at snippets of ‘Mystic Tulle”, “China Tulle”, “Bridal Illusion” as well as the old familiars, organza, chiffon, and plain old ordinary tulle.  Side by side, there’s a lot of difference, which is one good reason not to buy your veil online. It’s impossible to guess at texture from pictures, plus, if possible, you really want to match your veil to your gown [see below for tips on this]

Most veils are made from 100% nylon tulle. The texture can vary from one manufacturing run to the next, but what you can usually expect is a fine netting which is soft to the touch.  Bridal tulle [mystic, china, bridal illusion] drapes, flows, and moves beautifully. It is much less ‘crunchy’ than the tulle you’d find at Spotlight under the same name. The stiffer tulle is fantastic for a fuller, pouffy veil, or more dramatic effect. Bridal Illusion tulle is the go-to for quality veiling.

Different edging effects how the veil behaves, too. A raw edge veil will be very light, prone to movement, where a beaded or satin bound edge will sit more steadily and hang with a more formal drape.

Lace veils are usually be made on a soft tulle base, spreading the motifs across the tulle for economy, mostly because lace by the metre is expensive, but also because heavy lace is, well, heavy.

Chiffon veils are less common, probably because chiffon is far less translucent compared with tulle. Chiffon falls with incredible fluidity, and if your gown has chiffon detailing, it’s worth considering complementing your gown with a chiffon veil. You really won’t see any detail of your gown through a chiffon veil, and single tier bridal veil is best for a chiffon veil. The exception to the rule would be silk chiffon, which is very soft, fine, and close to translucent. I think of it like a very very VERY fine muslin in texture.

It’s easy to get chiffon and organza muddled up – here’s my rule of thumb: Chiffon tends to be matte, where organza is often a little bit sparkly or shimmering. It’s also a stiffer fabric, standing out where chiffon would flow, so it’s great for layering, and fluted edges.

The ideal length and edging for your veil will be determined by the style of your gown. For example, if there is a lot of beading or other detail through the bodice, you should choose a veil edge which will sit either above or below the detailing, so as not to visually block your gown.

As a general guideline, the slimmer the gown silhouette, the longer your veil should be.

For longer veil lengths, either choose a cut/raw edge for your veil [so that the edge just invisibly blends into your train], or have your veil cut slightly longer than the length of your train. This helps draw out the veil as you’re walking up the aisle, creating a beautiful silhouette. Ideally, the longer the veil, the softer the fabric.

A-Line gowns generally look great with a fingertip length circle cut veil, complementing the lines and proportions nicely. If you’ve dreamed of a longer veil, you can still have it, just add plenty of gentle tiers.

If your gown has a full, pouffy, “Disney princess” skirt and fitted bodice, try a shorter, fuller veil.

If you’re shopping for your veil by length, remember to consider where on your head you’ll be attatching the comb. A veil which comes out from underneath your hair will have as much as 4 more inches than a veil which sits right at the top of your head. The position of the comb will greatly effect the look of your veil from the front, too. It’s best to experiment a bit and see whetehr you prefer to have the veil framing your face, or just falling behind you.

If at all possible, you should match your veil not only to your gown colour, but also to shape – at The Corner Store, we encourage brides to bring in their gown, no matter where they purchased it from, to try on veils with. It’s kind of fun, playing dress-ups with a serious reason, and it’s another chance to get into the gown, win/win!  If you don’t have a friendly bridal store nearby, or don’t have the time to take your gown in, here’s an easy way to figure out your ideal veil length at home. It’s easier [and more fun] if you have someone to help you.

You’ll need: a hairclip/comb, or your hairpiece, if you’re using one
A couple of metres of string or wool
Tape measure or ruler

Tie one end of the string to your headpiece or a hairclip, and pin it into your hair around where you plan to anchor your veil. Run the string down your back until it’s at the length you like best. Get a friend to cut the string [if you try to do this yourself, I’d suggest you cut the string, then stand up again, to check the height before you take the pins out. It took me three goes to get it right when I tried it on my own!] Take the pin from your hair and measure it. Most veils are measured in inches. I don’t know why.  Or, you can use this handy picture to figure out what the name of your preferred veil lenght is called.
[ courtesy of Veil Trends]
Fly Away or Short Shoulder (20″ or less) or Shoulder Length (25″) These veils can be casual and/or very cute. They look best with a gown that has no train.

Elbow Length (30″) –  This length enhances detailing around the waist of the gown. It also balances nicely on a full skirted gown, as it ends just before the skirt begins to pouff out.

Fingertip or Waist Length (36″) –  If this length has an oval cut, it can make your waist appear smaller because the fullest part of the veil is at your elbows.

Waltz or Ballet Length ( 54-60″) This veil length hits your body somewhere between your knees and calves.

Floor Length (72″) – A floor length veil is very elegant and can be quite formal. Unless you have a raw edge veil, I don’t recommend this length for a gown with a train.

Chapel Length (90″) – Perfect if you are looking for a long veil to compliment a gown with a short train.

Cathedral Length ( 120″)  For maximum effect, make sure your veil extends at least six inches past the end of your train.

Introducing the new Mrs Groom’sLastName

Changing your name after you’re married is relatively straight-forward. Pretty much, you can just start using your new, married name. You don’t even have to decide straight away, and you’ll use your maiden name on the marriage licence, so don’t panic about practising your new signature!

Once you’ve made your decision [and definitely AFTER the wedding has taken place, t here is a huge list of things and places you should consider updating or informing. To make things easier, get a handful of notarised copies of your marriage certificate, and keep them in the glovebox of your car, or somewhere equally handy that you can forget they’re there, until the moment that you need them!

Things to update:

{It’s generally over to you whether you do all of these in one hit, or wait until just before they’re due for renewal anyway}

Driver’s Licence [if you use this for your main ID, it’s worth getting it updated immediately, even though it will incur an extra cost, you’ll save a lot of hassle if the name on your ID is the same as the name you’re using]

Passport [make sure that the name on the passport is the same name you use to book your tickets]

Credit/EftPos Cards and banking information, mortgage or lease documents

Misc insurance policies, wills, and other legal documentation

Current employer/payroll records [and update your CV]

Your marriage licence will have come with a postcard to update the electoral roll registration info, make sure you send it back!

Send a ‘change of address’ card to the post office with your new name details

A couple of things it’s easy to overlook:

Do you have an automatic email signature? Business cards? ID Badge? Printed address labels

You don’t desperately need to, but to be thorough:

Change the name/s on your utilities – power, phone, etc

Gym, library, or other memberships

And of course, don’t forget to update your Facebook/Google+ etc!

Proposal Fun: Isaac’s live “lip dub proposal”

Just in case there’s anyone in the world who hasn’t seen this one yet, here’s a proposal story  to aspire to:



Massive Gown Sale [pass it on!]

A week or so ago, one of the racks literally fell off the wall under the weight of too many gowns. [It was actually pretty funny: – very gracefully and in slow motion, the pole buckled, the gowns started to slide, and then the whole thing bent out in odd directions – gowns and hangers everywhere].

I MacGyvered it back onto the wall, better than before, and had a good hard look at what was hanging there. I’ve ruthlessly purged the racks, for an ‘off the rack’ sale.While I have NO desire to recreate a Running of the Brides, I’m determined to move these dresses –  I know there are new gowns due for the coming season which are going to have to hang SOMEwhere! The new rack is stronger, but I’m really not sure about the wall it’s bolted to.

I’ve spent most of this week sorting and re-pricing gowns. As I left this afternoon,  I did a quick count up, and there are over 50 gowns on  the sale rack, most still ‘brand new with tags’, all massively marked down. No wonder it took so long!

The majority of the gowns are sample gowns from lines which are now discontinued.  There are some left-overs of cancelled orders or duplicates from before my time, and a few are second-hand. All of them are in excellent condition, and priced to sell, many at over 50% off the recommended retail price.

Even better, there’s an impressive variation of styles and sizes, from size 8 to 18, genuine vintage lace through to 2011/12 styles. At these prices, it’s a case of ‘first in, best dressed’ for sure!

Gowns can be viewed anytime The Store is open, fittings are by appointment only – see you there!


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