Tagged: Makeup

Inside Erica Bryan’s Debut EP

As an artist and entrepreneur, it’s essential that you have a group of people who you turn to when you need support in your business and artistic endeavors. When I set out as a freelance writer over two years ago, I was fortunate to have connected with singer/songwriter Erica Bryan, and since then, it has been an honor to be a part of her circle and to have her as part of mine.

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This past January, I was thrilled to be included in a focus group for her first EP. Erica’s music and lyrics are always very evocative of a particular sensation or image. While I listened to each of the six incredibly diverse songs that will be featured on her debut EP, I was immediately overcome with an array of feelings. As Erica and I formulated a concept for a feature on the EP, it has been amazing to watch these moods brought to life through outstanding styling, makeup artistry, and photography. I was eager to dive in deeper with the photographer, the makeup artist, and Erica herself and to learn how they collectively translated the music into Erica’s image.


AOC BLOG GIRL: How did the EP influence the wide variety of backdrops you choose for the photoshoot?

DANIEL MEIGS, PHOTOGRAPHER: Erica and I discussed ideas that centralized with the theme of the song Jericho – destruction, crumbling walls, and debris. She wanted a darker, moody feel for a lot of the outdoor locations. While I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, we did end up with some places that worked really well. Lots of concrete and some old abandoned buildings with plenty of overgrowth.

AOC BLOG GIRL: How did you adapt Erica’s makeup to the diverse set of looks for the EP?

ANAIS SHIBA, MAKEUP ARTIST: When I’m coming up with a look, I always try to capture the feel of the set. For Erica, we wanted a range of looks that would really express the diversity of her musical style. So, after meeting her and seeing the outfits she had chosen for the shoot, it was easy to come up with makeup looks that would not only accentuate her style but also her beautiful personality.

AOC BLOG GIRL: Describe the creative process that went into conceptualizing the looks for the EP.

ERICA BRYAN: I really wanted my looks to reflect the different styles of songs that I have on the EP. To represent the song Jericho, I wanted a look that was very strong. I thought the black dress with the fur shawl was very powerful and warrior-esque – like maybe I was going to hunt for my own dinner that night! I call the style inspired by the track Billboard “Cali-Chill.” I wanted to wear something fun and laid-back, so I chose loose, light-colored clothing. For the song Immune to You, I wanted to emulate a classy Adele-type style, so I went with a vintage hat, fur vest, and some jewels of course! And finally, to represent the track Leaving You In Memphis, I wanted a little more edge, so I wore a Journey t-shirt and some leather fringe!

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AOC BLOG GIRL: What type of direction did you give Erica in order to evoke the mood of each look?

DANIEL MEIGS, PHOTOGRAPHER: You know, Erica really knew what she wanted. When we started at each location, she just turned it on. It helps working with an artist who understands what she wants and how to get herself there. I would offer suggestions here and there with posing and getting more of a natural look. A lot of that is achievable by natural movement. So, instead of, “OK, turn like this, and look this way,” we would try things like, “Ok, start here, let’s walk together, and just look back at me along the way.” We did some smiles and laughs, especially in the studio, but for most of the outdoor looks, we were channeling a strong feminine vibe.

AOC BLOG GIRL: What is one signature quality about Erica’s style that you maintained throughout each look?

ANAIS SHIBA, MAKEUP ARTIST: I really wanted to highlight Erica’s eyes and hair in each look that we did. Although the makeup and hair changed with each location, my goal was to bring focus to those qualities, as they are some of her most striking features.

AOC BLOG GIRL: Who or what has been the greatest influence on your personal style as an artist?

ERICA BRYAN: I really look up to strong women performers, so I think the edgy-rocker look of Grace Potter and the classy, timeless look of Adele really speak to me fashion-wise. Some people have even called me a chameleon because I can look rocker one day and classic the next, but I enjoy switching it up!

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AOC BLOG GIRL: Which look was the most exciting to shoot and why?

DANIEL MEIGS, PHOTOGRAPHER: I love shooting on location. It’s just so unpredictable. I love the old building with all of the gnarly branches. We lit it in a way where you had just enough light on the background, and it created such a creepy feel, so much character everywhere we would turn. That was my favorite.

AOC BLOG GIRL: Which look was your favorite to work with and why?

ANAIS SHIBA, MAKEUP ARTIST: I think my favorite look was the black dress and faux fur. It was the first look that we did that day, and everything came together so perfectly when we started shooting. It was also the most dramatic hair and makeup, which I tend to naturally gravitate towards.

AOC BLOG GIRL: What is one thing you’ve learned after producing your first EP that you’d like to share with aspiring artists?

ERICA BRYAN: What I’ve learned is that once you record your EP… you’re not done! Recording is just the first part. Figuring out how to get people to listen to it is the hard part. The industry is always changing, so you have to be creative about how you are getting your music out there. So many artists put their EP up online and wonder why no one’s listening, but if you’ve thought it through and made a plan of action, someone will hear it besides your mom. And that, my friends, is success!


When I first listened to the EP, I was torn between the tracks Leaving You in Memphis and Billboard. I couldn’t decide which was my favorite! After seeing the music come to life, I have a whole new appreciation for Jericho. I have to agree with both Daniel and Anais – the look inspired by that particular song took my breath away.

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Click here to listen to an exclusive preview of the four songs that inspired the looks for Erica Bryan’s debut EP, which is set to drop on July 1, 2016. Stay tuned for the release of the first single off the album in the next few weeks. To keep up to date on all of Erica’s future release dates, tour dates, and more, visit her website and sign up for her mailing list for a free download!

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NYC Life: Street Shopping

One of the unique qualities of New York City is the prevalence of street vendors. To New Yorkers, it’s completely commonplace to see people selling anything and everything, from food and drink to apparel and accessories on nearly every sidewalk and street corner. Some people outside NYC may associate these sellers with counterfeit bags and knockoff sunglasses (yes, these do exist), but there are countless vendors who make honest income from street sales.

Although I’m unphased by street vendors, I don’t regularly buy goods off the street. Sure, I’ve picked up a bag of onions from a produce stand in a pinch, browsed interesting art outside Central Park, or been unable to resist the scent of those sweet, crunchy candied street nuts. But the other day, I made my first official impulse street purchase of something most people might consider quite strange: makeup.

In preparation for writing this post, I did my due diligence on the makeup brand I purchased, Makeover Essentials, and I was stunned by the negative reviews regarding the selling approach. Maybe I’ve become desensitized to individuals selling product on the street in NYC, but I wasn’t misled about this product in any way, and I wasn’t pressured or conned into purchasing it. In terms quality, the Makeover Essentials products are not on par with high-end department store makeup brands (Bobbi Brown, Lancome, Trish McEvoy, and the like). However, if you’re looking for an alternative to premium beauty brands but want a step up from drugstore products, I would recommend Makeover Essentials. Read my detailed reviews below, and check out the brand for yourself!


24/7 Makeover Portfolio

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Retails for $59.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Nude Basics for $80.00

The 24/7 Makeup Portfolio includes mascara, eyeliner duo, and two palettes, Sunrise and Sunset. Each palette contains pressed powder, cheek color, shadow trio, and lip duo. I was really impressed with the mascara. I’m a stanch user of Lancome’s Definicils mascara and usually scoff at other formulas and brush shapes. The eye pencil was a bit dry and harsh as-is, but this was easily remedied using the handy lighter hack. Not all of the eye and lip colors were right for my skin tone, but overall, the hues were fairly neutral and flattering, went on smoothly, and paired well with each other. The brushes that come with the palettes are low quality, but I apply most of my makeup with my fingers, so this was a non-issue for me. The vegan leather portfolio holds everything nicely and feels and looks great.


Shimmer Powder Brush Bronze

Retails for $29.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick for $46.00

Retails for $29.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick for $46.00

I was really excited about the design of the self-dispensing bronzing brush, however this bronzer was too shimmery for my taste. I would liken it to Bobbi Brown’s shimmer brick and would recommend using it as a blush as opposed to an overall face bronzer.


Lunar Lip Color Kit

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Retails for $29.99, Compare to Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Palette for $39.00

I’m typically not a fan of “pot rouge” style lip color, but the colors in this kit were ultra-creamy and went on smoothly and seamlessly. The hues are fairly sheer but are ideal for everyday or paired over a bold lip for a touch of sheen. I would also easily use these for a dewy, balmy cheek tint.

Beauty Tips for Spring + Wedding Season

For three long months we’ve been buried in snow and tortured by brutal winds and harsh temperatures. We’ve covered every inch of our skin with bulky coats, hats, and scarves. Our beauty regimens have gotten bleak and turned into a constant battle with dry skin and cracked lips. Today, everything changes. It’s the first day of spring!

Although many of us are not experiencing glorious, balmy weather on this first day of spring, we’re starting to get a taste of the warmer days to come. Temperatures are slowly but surely beginning to rise, days are getting longer and brighter, and we’re finally able to start shedding those winter layers. Soon, we’ll be enjoying a little sun on our skin and color in our cheeks. Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal, reviving your warm-weather wardrobe, and refreshing your beauty regimen.

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Years before I moved to New York City, the NYC-based Elvis Duran Morning Show became part of my morning routine thanks to iHeartRadio. Every day, while styling my hair and applying my makeup, the morning show provides my soundtrack. One of their partnerships is with one of my favorite beauty brands, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Founder Bobbi Brown herself joins the Elvis Duran crew regularly to discuss the latest beauty tips and trends and field questions from listeners. Yesterday, she visited the show to share her best beauty tips for spring and for wedding season.


BOBBI’S TOP 3 BEAUTY TIPS FOR SPRING

1. Check In with Your Foundation

No matter what your natural skin tone, everyone is paler in the winter. As warmer weather approaches, we start regaining our natural color. Don’t forget to check in with your foundation, and get a new shade for spring and summer.

2. Warm Up Your Cheeks

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MY PICKS: Bobbi Brown Powder Blush and Brightening Finishing Powder

The quickest and easiest way to give yourself that spring glow is to warm up your cheeks with a little color. Instead of contouring, Bobbi suggests layering a soft, rosy blush with a light, bright hue right on the cheek bone to enhance the shape of your face.

3. Trend Alert: Nude Face, Bright Lip

Bobbi reminded us of the SS15 runway trend: nude face, bright lip. For years the focus seemed to be on bold eyes, but this spring the bright lip reigns supreme. Keep your face, cheeks, and eyes soft, simple, and neutral, then top off the look with an eye-catching lip.


BOBBI’S TIPS FOR BRIDES

1. Do a Test Run

Whether you’re having your makeup done professionally or doing it yourself, be sure to do a test run. Have someone take a picture so you can make sure you’re 100% satisfied with your look. Need help? Check out Bobbi’s makeup lessons.

2. Make Sure It’s Long-Wearing

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Your makeup needs to last from the ceremony to pictures all the way to the reception. The key to having a bright, fresh face the whole way through is ensuring your makeup is long-wearing.

3. Keep Your Face Nude and Natural

While you want bold makeup for photos, you also want to ensure you look like your natural, beautiful self, particularly if you’re a girl who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup on a normal day.

4. Focus on Your Eyes (and don’t forget the waterproof mascara!)

They say eyes are the window to the soul, and on your wedding day, you want yours to be glowing with love and happiness. Of course, don’t forget the waterproof mascara – it’s a must!

5. Choose a Lip Color You Love

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MY PICK: Bobbi Brown Original Lip Color

Lip color is so personal based on your skin tone, personal preferences, and, in this case, the color palette of your wedding. Choose a lip color you love, and you can’t go wrong.

6. Disregard Any Beauty Trends – Go for a Classic, Timeless Look You’ll Love for Years to Come

There are so many beauty trends out there that we’re all dying to try. Don’t choose your wedding day to test them out. Go for a classic, timeless look you’ll love for years to come. Save the trends for your bachelorette celebration!


BONUS!

Now through Sunday, March 22, get a $25 gift card when you spend $100 or more. Plus, Bobbi Brown always offers FREE shipping on orders over $65, FREE samples with every order, and FREE returns on all foundations, correctors, concealers, and powders to ensure you get the perfect match.

Launching a YouTube Channel

September is the Month of Firsts for ARTicles of Clothing blog, and today AOC is taking it’s first step into a new platform and a new medium: video.

I am beyond excited to share that ARTicles of Clothing Blog is expanding onto yet another social media outlet: YouTube! Today I’m launching the official YouTube channel of AOC.

I was fortunate to work with some amazing people on my first video. I can barely take a good photograph, so the idea of creating a video seemed impossible until I met veteran videographer Sonali Prabhu of So Narly. We shot on location at Woo Skincare and Cosmetics, a retailer of high-quality skincare and makeup. With the help of makeup artist and beauty expert Brittini Pearson, we documented how to create the perfect day to night look.

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Woo’s knowledgeable and reliable staff is what sets them apart from your typical department store or drug store. Moving from the hot and humid South to the cold and dry Midwest has been brutal on my naturally dry skin. In my time working with Brittini, she has completely revamped my beauty routine. My skin feels and looks better and my makeup goes on more smoothly and better highlights my natural features.

So, watch the full makeup tutorial and check out all the products used on my brand NEW YouTube channel! Don’t live near a Woo Skincare and Cosmetics? Contact my makeup artist Brittini, and she will conduct a consultation over the phone and ship product to you! Free samples are also included with every purchase!