This is the time of the year where wedding season is in full swing. Throughout the year I do many weddings, plenty of which wind up in Bridal Magazines and on Wedding TV shows.
So today I figured why not touch on the subject in a blog?

One of the things that a girl needs to give some thought to when planning her wedding and her wedding budget is the whole issue of hair and make up. Whether to do her own, have her cousin/neighbor/friend do it for free, or whether to hire in some pro’s.

Regardless of whether you’re having a little backyard wedding, or whether you’ve hired out the local cathedral, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you get a pro hairdresser and a pro make up artist on board for the big day. When you consider how much money is going to be spent on the dress, the venue, the photographer etc, it only makes sense to invest a little in how you will look in said dress, at said venue, being immortalized by said photographer!

So here are some things to think about

*Your make up needs to last all day and all night. So long as the festivities are happening, you need to be looking fabulous. A pro will be able to make that happen.

*Ideally your make up should have a timeless quality to it. In 10 years time you don’t want to look at those pictures on the wall and be thinking how dated you look. You want to just see a beautiful girl who is enhanced by the make up she is wearing and not owned by it.

*The day of the wedding there is a lot going on. The time spent in the hair and make up chairs is so relaxing, and in fact will be the only zen time you get that day!

*A pro make up artist will be able to read the lighting and amend the make up accordingly. Hard sunlight, cloud cover, soft light etc each require a different touch with make up.

* A pro make up artist will be able to use airbrush on you. This is the most advanced technology, and the most beautiful form of foundation available. No matter who you are, how great or not great your skin is, no matter what age you are, your skin will look gorgeous in airbrush make up!

* Pro’s have access to products that regular folks don’t. Pro make up products last longer, hold up to the elements longer, don’t get patchy or change color as the day wears on, and are designed to be used with photography and videography. These are the products used on models and celebrities to keep them looking flawless, so why not you too?

If you are interested in learning some wedding day make up tips, tips on which products to have with you on the day, and how to choose a make up artist and hairdresser for your wedding day, please let me know. I will happily write as many wedding blogs as you want to read!

One of the things that Will and I have been working on lately is the pageant scene. Its really super good fun.
We’ve been working with a delightful girl named Monica on a variety of pageants.

This weekend we did two pageants with Monica, and were able to do all kinds of fun hair and make up.

Here’s little miss M on the first day.
She was going to be wearing an absolutely divine green and black dress that was quite sophisticated and needed the full beauty look to go with it.
The venue wasn’t large, and what I had to think about makeup-wise was how to have her carry off the fabulous dress and not be owned by it, while knowing that the judges would be quite close, making any makeup seem huge.

I used some MAC shadows and pigments to create the look. First up, a base color to go from brow to lashline. I used a shade called Grain.

Next I wanted to incorporate the deep green from the dress, but not match it, so I used a MAC pigment in Night Light, and gradually built the color over the lid area.
To give the eye added dimension and drama I needed something in a deep tone in the crease and outer corner. I didn’t want to go as heavy as a black as that would be too overpowering with the judges seeing her from such a close proximity, so I used a color called Smut.
Love that name! Smut, Smut Smut!!! (I wish I had the job of naming eyeshadow colors – oooh there’d be some badness!)
I built the crease up slowly, again making sure that I wasn’t using too heavy of a hand.

I smoked the liner to soften the look and pull it all together, then used some Pro lash Mascara and a strip of false lashes. (after all, its just not a party without lashes!)

Monica is such a pro in the make up chair! She can sit still and keep her eyes still for ages.

We were watching the endless coverage of the Michael Jackson story unfolding while in the hair and make up room, so the usual levity was broken up with moments of sadness.
That’s Will behind her tending to her tresses.

Isn’t she just gorgeous?

The dress was exquisite. I want one!

Day 2 of the pageant had all kinds of events, from interview to dance, to the grand finale.

I opted for a softer look with the make up. Still lashes (of course lashes!) but a much softer, younger eye. I love colored glosses, and tend to use them half to death, but they really do give such a soft and pretty mouth.

What do ya know? She won!!!

Monica is much more than just a pretty face though, which is part of the reason that Will and I just adore working with her.
She leads a very busy high school life. She is on the varsity cheer team (I have no idea what that actually means, but it sounds good!), in September she is returning to school as President of the Senior Class, she is captain of the Arizona Western College Jazz team, is an A student, a red cross lifeguard, and she has MS.
That’s right – Multiple Sclerosis. And you would never know it. She couldn’t be blamed for opting out of everything and feeling sorry for herself, but instead she has chosen to grab life by the horns and get everything possible out of it!
Monica has such a winning attitude. She wants to learn about everything and then master it.
I love that!

She has a fabulous family who travel to support her in her pageants. When I asked her why she keeps doing pageants she told me that she likes to work hard to accomplish something, and feels that win or lose she comes away from pageants gaining life skills as well as poise and extra confidence. And they’re fun!
She plans on going to college to study Marketing and Public Relations.

Isn’t she great? She tells me that she “just doesn’t let MS get in her way”. I think she’s quite the inspiration!

Will and I have become so vested in her winning, and if not winning, then at least having a blast doing it. And like her family, we too are so very proud of her.

I just wish the winner got three tiaras – Will and I would wear ours with pride, style and flair!

One last look.

Today Miss Arizona Teen, tomorrow the world!

This weekend there was a Locks Of Love charity event put on by Tony Pedregon Racing at the summit Racing NHRA Nationals in Norwalk Ohio. Supporters lined up to have 10 inches or more cut from their hair to be used to create wigs for those who have lost their hair due to medical ailments. There were also auctions etc to raise money for Locks Of Love. The idea for this event came from Tony’s young daughter, who gave something around 10 inches of hair herself!

This got me thinking about a trip to India that I was supposed to take in March of last year. Seems like a stretch I know, but stay with me here.

One of my brothers lived in Bangalore for 3 years, running operations for an international bank. I had planned on taking my little guy for a visit at the end of that 3 years, thinking he would better remember and absorb it all if I waited til he was 7. We were all set to go after months of teaching my boy about India, feeding him the cuisine, and getting him all prepped, when wouldn’t you know it, my brother had to move back to Sydney a month earlier than originally planned. The trip had to be cancelled, and we didn’t get to go.

I have had a fascination with India for many years. I find the culture intriguing, love the food and the people and the history. From an artistic point of view I think the women are incredibly beautiful, I love their saris, their make up, the inner strength and peace in their faces. And I love Bollywood.

Anyway, with my great love of rituals and pageantry, one of the things I had planned to do while in India, was to travel to Andhra Pradesh to Tirupati, to Tirumala, the world’s most visited site of pilgramage.

Everyday between 50, 000 and 100,000 take the 2 1/2 hour walk up the mountain to the temple, and wait hours for a 5 second viewing of the sacred Idol.

There are some 3000 steps to take. (like I would have ever survived that!)

I may have some facts confused here, but it is my understanding that Lord Venkateswara, one of the forms of the hindu god Vishnu is in residence at the temple.

Many of the pilgrams top the visit off with what is called “tonsuring”. The women wear their best saris, in shades of bright pink, orange and turquoise, and line up for hours outside the temple’s tonsuring room to have their heads shaven, in the belief that by doing so the God will grant them their wish. Some get tonsured as a sign of gratitude for blessings in their lives, and historically the act of tonsuring is done as a sign of completely surrendering one’s ego at the feet of the lord.

Both men and women get tonsured, and little kids too.

This family sits patiently after being tonsured. (I would still be complaining about the walk up…) Sometimes after the weight of such long, thick hair is removed the women get dizzy and have a hard time standing back up.

The hair is collected, washed and treated and sold to become wigs and hair pieces. Temple hair as it is called, is considered to be the highest quality hair available. The glossy, healthy, waist length hair has never been treated with anything harsher than Ayurvedic soaps and oils, and becomes the most lush, exquisite hair extensions and pieces.
There is such a huge market for temple hair that approximately 500 tons of it is harvested and sold at auction from Tirumala each year at top prices. The temple consequently has extraordinary wealth, which it pours back into the community.

I am sure some of the wigs and falls that I own must have come from temple hair. Maybe not from Tirumala, but from any of the temples in India that perform tonsuring.

So I missed the trip to Bangalore, missed staying at the Leila Palace, missed staying at my brother’s beautiful home, missed touring the sites with my sister in law and their much loved driver, Ramu. Seeing it all thru pictures just isn’t quite the same.

I know that the spectacular visual impact of India and its people would have left me so inspired.

But inspiration can also come in the form of a pint sized little girl who not only was willing to give up her own hair to help another, but also had the drive to make an event out of it, get her family involved and raise money and collect hair for Locks of Love.

I don’t know if they are still taking donations, but if you would like to help check out www.tonypedregon.com

If you would like more information about Tirumala check out this great blog by Esben Agersnap at www.eagersnap.blogspot.com