Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's the point?

I was talking to a good friend of mine, and while chatting about my business I mentioned this little blog of mine. 'Oh, so you're going to be posting video tutorials and reviews and stuff?' Um, not necessarily. 'Well... what's the point then?'

I've seen the sharp incline in these types of blogs (and YouTube channels) over the last 12 months, and while I think that they can be really useful that's not what I intended this blog to be about. Sure, I may throw an opinion out here and there, but this is more about me documenting my new career and talking about the things I love (being makeup, beauty, occasionally fashion but I think I'm a bit challenged in that area!).

I know when I was first starting out I looked for any day-to-day info from MUAs about their life, their challenges, their successses. And I didn't find anything. So maybe someone will read this and get some insight into this career, or maybe not. I'm just enjoying having somewhere to write my thoughts.

Maybe in the future I will start a review/tutorial blog/channel, but I would probably start anew.

And to my four followers - you could be the most valued followers in the world :)
BC xx

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Speed bumps

Although I am aware that I am in the baby stages of my new career, I can't help but want to excel straightaway. Silly, but true. And now that I have the beginnings of a portfolio (yay!) and am about to start advertising more for brides and other private clients (yay yay!!) I'm trying to choose my best images for promotional purposes. And let me tell you - I'm having a rough time.

After doing so many shoots and working every weekend for free, I thought I would have a plethora of work to show for it. And that part is true. But the quality just isn't there. Sometimes I feel it's my work that lets the images down, others I feel the photographer/model just hasn't captured the concept. Or the worst ones are the images that I thought were really good, and then I get feedback telling me otherwise.

It's quite disheartening to look at six month's worth of time, effort and product and have so little to show for it. It's hard to stay positive and enthusiastic when it seems that you always have so far to go. It's even making me nervous about taking on private clients - am I ready? Can I give them what they want? Will they be happy with my work?

I know this is a passing notion and something will happen soon to lift my spirits and confidence back up and all will be right with the world again. But I'm starting to realise that this road is probably a little bit longer and tougher than I originally thought. I need to start focusing on the positives that have already occured to remind me how far I have come and what I have already achieved, and this can buoy me up on the days where the glass is half empty.

So my list of achievements so far includes:

* Finishing my Cert IV in Makeup - five months of after-work and weekend study was a social-life-killer and relationship strain. By the end I was sleep-deprived, emotionally exhausted and totally broke. But I got through it and now I have my first tertiary qualification!

* Racking up almost 60 hours of work experience in 2.5 months - the requirement for my course was 40 hours. I smashed it. Hell yeah!

* Registering my business name. Seems silly, but the day I walked out of the Office of Fair Trading with a certificate claiming that Bella Chic officially existed was amazing. That's the moment it became 'real' to me.

* My first 'nailed it!' moment - at my second-ever photo shoot, when we were taking the last images after three outfit changes. The photographer and model were just amazed by what I had done (even though I look back now and cringe!) and as I watched the model pose I got shivers. I had nailed it. And it felt amazing!!

* My first 'OMG - that's MY work?!?' moment - opening an email from a photographer after a shoot that I was so excited to work on, and the images were better than I ever thought they would be. Again, I look back now and see improvements that could have been made, but it's about the feeling I got opening those files and gasping out loud.

* My first portfolio - I only blogged about this a few weeks ago, but creating my portfolio was really magical for me. It was the first time seeing my work in print instead of just on screen, and it really changed my view of the images (some were better, some were worse). But it also made me feel like a real 'artist' in comparison to a 'hobbyist'.

What are your achievements to date??
BC xx

Monday, January 25, 2010

Facebook Fan Page is up!!

Hooray! I've decided to launch my fan page before my website is completed (which, rumour has it, will be up and running this week - eek!!). I need to start generating a stronger web presence if I'm going to start booking some gigs!

So if you're on Facebook come and be my fan!!

Tomorrow I'll be getting my Australian on at my boyfriend's barbeque - listening to the Hottest 100 countdown and eating lamingtons. Looking forward to a relaxing day :)

What are you doing on Australia Day?
BC xx

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eyebrow Threading

I took my overgrown, disgusting eyebrows to get threaded for the first time last night. My last wax was terrible so they needed a good reshape.

Firstly - OUCH!! Oh my god!! That was SO FREAKING PAINFUL!! (Ok, I'll back down from the hysterics) Seriously though, I've had my brows waxed many times and while it's not a fabulous feeling, it's easily bearable. This was not. If I wasn't such a pansy I would have asked my therapist to stop because I needed a break. Wow. Whoever said it didn't hurt at all have no nerve endings in their face. My skin was still tender when I went to put my makeup on this morning.

Secondly - my therapist didn't ask me what shape I wanted. That does not make me happy. While the shape is ok, I would have preferred some consultation. It's more 'rounded' than I prefer (I like a sharper arch).

Thirdly (is that even a word) - when they say get every hair, they mean every single one. Usually after a wax I come home and find a few that I have to pluck out myself, which makes me wonder why I just paid someone in the first place. But this is really amazing. And they said that they can thread hair that has just broken the surface, not like waxing where it has to be a certain length to grip. So that's really great to know!

So was it worth it? I say yes, although I don't think I'd go back with fully grown-out brows. I'd probably wax/pluck all the obvious hairs out and just go to get the shape re-done. I'll report back on what the regrowth is like, but for now it's left me baby-smooth. And when I go back I'll ask for a different therapist.

Anyone else had threading done?? Let me know how you went!
BC xx

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Golden Globes Wrap Up - Hair and Makeup

Well I feel really slack and a bit late on the bandwagon - I should have had this up moments after the ceremony, apparently! But working full time doesn't give you a lot of luxurious time to be doing this kind of stuff. I wish it did!!

Anyway, onto the Golden Globes hair and makeup. In general - eh. It's all been done before. Nothing revolutionary, which was also reflective of the dresses. I read one columnist who complained about the lack of drama and scandal when it came to the GGs this year - and as the week wears on and I look at gallery upon gallery, I tend to agree.

But the best news about that is that most of the looks are both wearable and easily copied by DIY-ers. I expect to start getting requests for some of these looks when the formal season start rolling around.


* Smokey eyes - geez, what a surprise. They're a feature at every red carpet event, but it's all about doing them right for your eye shape. And balancing with the rest of your makeup is key. I thought Sandra did this well, and especially avoiding the black-eye look. A light eyeshadow in the inner corner and mobile lid keeps the eye looking fresh and open.

* Red lips - again, another staple, but again - hot. Keep your eyes low-key and make it all about your lips.

* Natural look - sometimes this can look underdressed at big events, but with all the soft tones in the clothes it was a perfect choice. As much as I didn't love Drew's outfit, her makeup was gorgeous. Sometimes a hint of colour is all you need.

* Fallen-out hair - ugh, this is one of my biggest gripes. And apparently everyone loves it except me. People who look like they've either curled their hair but it's all fallen out, or they just haven't brushed their hair after getting out of bed. It can work on certain occasions, but for pete's sake, not on a red carpet!!

* Waves - Rose Byrne did this well, except I would have liked a little more serum over the ends to stop it getting a little frizzy. Classic and classy.

* Slick ponytail - now this wasn't a great feature, but after Heather Graham did it I expect to see it more often. The type of hairdo you can easily do yourself and look fabulous. Just make sure your face can take the attention (mine can't - high forehead and round cheeks mean I look like a fat, balding child).

* Headbands - clearly January Jones got on this bandwagon (see Red Lips above), but my favourite was Carey Milligan. Oh-so-cute - makes me (almost) want to chop my hair off! Formal trend alert again!! Never say you can't do anything with a short crop - this was gorgeous.

And the award for BC's Favourite All-Round Look goes to.....

Lea Michelle from Glee!!
Uh, I just sighed when I saw this whole getup. Age appropriate (can you tell I'm big on that??), timeless and just beautiful. Yet her updo saved the whole look from being dowdy - if I was going to a formal, that's the hair I would want. It looked like some kind of fishplait that was tucked underneath, but it was just loose and 'undone' enough to avoid being too contrived. Congratulations for not going to your first GGs and feeling the need to go overboard. Every new actress on Neighbours and Home & Away this year should take note.

Anyway, that's my thoughts! What did you think??
BC xx

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Golden Globes Wrap Up - Fashion

I had a GREAT day yesterday - didn't go to work because I burnt my fingers (long story, let's just say I'm a klutz) so I got to spend the whole day in front of the TV watching the Golden Globes! I tweeted my way through the red carpet (@counterobsess) and it seems that my fashion observations were somewhat opposing to so-called experts. Clearly I have a lot to learn!

In general, the fashion trends I spotted (and loved) were:

* Soft tones - the red carpet was awash with blush, peach, white, champagne, grey, pastels... you get the idea. If you've got the skin tone for soft colours then it's your season. Drew Barrymore looked really pretty, but I didn't like the barnacles on her shoulder and hip.

* Purple - a few purple dresses were thrown in for good measure - think Sandra Bullock, Rose Byrne and Jane Krakowski. Now THIS is a colour I can get into! It looks so regal and elegant.

* Ruffles - woah, it was ruffles galore! I love a well-placed ruffle, it's feminine and romantic yet modern and stylish.

* One Shoulder - yes, for another season the one shoulder is a popular choice. And why not? More modest than the strapless option, yet still showing off enough skin to be sexy. And no need for the always-elegant, my-dress-is-falling tug to avoid the girls coming out to play.

* Cocktail length - if you've got the legs, this is a hot alternative to the typical floor-length evening gown. I think it's a really youthful interpretation of red carpet attire. Ginnifer Goodwin and Kristen Bell (whom I thought looked amazing in every way) showed that a bit of leg can still be appropriate.

The one trend that was EVERYWHERE but I did not warm to at all was the shiny-shiny-look-at-me fabrics. Giuliana from E! looked like she was wearing alfoil. And I remember one of the guys from Glee in a shiny suit. No no no no.

Will post about hair and makeup next... which is my favourite!! :D
BC xx

Monday, January 18, 2010


Wow, big weekend! Started with my shoot on Thursday (which you may recall that I was REALLY nervous about!). After a false start (where I has to remove the cake liner from the crease because it looked like a three-year-old had applied it) I got my mojo back and I think I did a decent job! The model and photographer seemed really happy with my work, and the proofs I've seen so far seem good! A nice addition to my port that shows a different side to my artistry.

Koren B - after a lot of practice in my bathroom I made the tear tracks using cake liner and water! I had a small container with water and I mixed a little bit of the cake liner in so the water looked cloudy, then used a fine brush to pick up as much as I could and place it where I wanted the tear to fall. Worked a treat ;)

After moving on Friday (which went smoothly, but I'm still unpacking due to extreme procrastination) I went to my first bridal expo. As a guest, not an exhibitor! It was... an interesting experience. My first impression was crowded, hot, manic. Narrow aisles made it difficult to move and the failing air conditioning was having trouble clearing the slight hint of desperation in the air. The brides were clearly there to get a bargain, and I would imagine that most decisions re: hair/makeup would be based mainly on price. I understand that from their point of view, but I don't want to have to drop prices if someone else is cheaper. And I don't know if my nerves could handle the crowds and the general craziness.

I did a shoot on Sunday but I'll blog on that later - I've got the Golden Globes red carpet to watch!!

BC xx

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Really nervous about my shoot tonight! It's with an amazing photographer whom I want to work with a lot in the future (shall remain nameless until I see how the shoot goes!) and the concept is a super-stylised 60's Twiggy/Edie Sedgewick look. Lots of liner and lashes, and as the shoot progresses the plan is to 'break down' the look so it's more tragic and sad - think tear tracks, smudged lipstick, messed hair.

I've never done something like this before, so I'm nervous to see if I can actually pull it off. They symmetry required is probably what I'm most nervous about, since it'll be really obvious if it's wrong. And I don't like relying on Photoshop to fix my mistakes.

Then after a late shoot tonight I get to spend tomorrow - moving! Argh!! Haven't done any packing of course... where's the fun in that?? ;)

BC xx

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Something is a-stirring...

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up (well, I'm the only one who really cares!!) but I actually believe that my website is in the process of being created!


For a little background information, my brother just happens to be a rather talented IT guy who kindly offered to design my business cards and build my website. Now he does have (more than) full time work and whatnot, so he's a busy bee. But my original plan was to launch before December 1st so it was online before the end of my makeup course. Then he got busy.... so it was mid December... and now it's mid January....

It's been a bit frustrating just because I've held off all my advertising to private clients (brides, formal girls etc.) until I've had a website. I just feel that for a MUA a website is such a strong tool - people can instantly see examples of your work and get an idea about you as an artist. And they can feel confident that yes, I've done this many times before. I won't make you look like a drag queen/80's reject/Barbie doll (unless that's what you want of course!!).

But last night I got a strange email from Wordpress telling me that a blog was created... which I thought may have been a virus/spam, but after checking with my brother it's all his doing. And my website looks a little different, although nothing is posted up as yet.

So two good pieces of news come out of this:
1. My website is on its way, and
2. Looks like this blog won't be the one on my website! Why is this good? I've only posted a handful of entries, but I've really enjoyed this outlet for saying whatever is on my mind and documenting this whole process of starting my new career. And there are things that I want to post here that I wouldn't particularly want my private clients to read! If I want to whinge about something I want to do it without fear that it will turn a bride away from my business. So this will hopefully be my personal account of my MUA life, and the other can be my business-related one (full of tips and advice for regular consumers).

Exciting times ahead!! I wonder how long until I see something....
BC xx

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another week begins...

Happy Monday everyone! I am pleased to report that my arm held up during my busy weekend. I suspect that it's not my makeup work that aggravates it but my computer work during the week. Yet another reason I should look forward to being a full time MUA :)

So I had three shoots over the weekend, all which seemed to go well. The photographers were happy with the shots, which is what I always aim for. I've learnt to pester them to give me feedback after some test shots, because often they're so in the 'zone' and concentrating on lighting, pose etc. that they forget to check that the makeup is what they want. A small change in lip colour or face powder can take me 10 seconds to fix, or the photographer can spend 30 minutes in post production fixing it. I know which one I prefer!

I'm moving on Friday, which will be great fun in the January heat. So this week is all about throwing out as much as possible so I don't have to pack it! I'm sacrificing almost three years worth of magazines, which makes me a bit sad - but I'm going through them all to tear out images and looks that I want to recreate, so I get to re-read them! I stayed up WAY past my bedtime doing old Cleo quizzes... and then re-doing them until I got the answer I wanted :)

Skincare update - no time to go shopping at the moment, but I gave my mum a starter pack from Aesop for Christmas and she can't stop RAVING about it. Her skin has always been 'nice', but now it's just so smooth and plump and divine. So I think they will be my first stop for a new moisturiser at least. I like the idea of keeping my skincare as natural as possible, while still being effective.

Hope you all have a great week!
BC xx

Friday, January 8, 2010

Luck ain't my lady tonight...

Of course it had to happen...

Three shoots lined up this weekend. One with a new photographer that I really admire and want to do a lot more work with in the future. Tightly packed schedule for the next two weeks between work, shoots and moving house.

So today is the day that I seriously injure my entire right arm.

It's an old ergonomic injury, from years of typing and sitting at desks that usually are designed for decoration more than function. But it means that until I have time to see a physio, I have severe shooting pains down my right shoulder and arm, down to my fingers.

This is not good. This is not good at all.

Short term solution - heat pack, physio exercises, whinge to my boyfriend until he makes me feel better. Carry everything on my left side (oh, to have a kit on wheels....). Minimise use of my right arm. Being right handed, that makes me smirk.

Will report back after the weekend as to how it's gone. Cross fingers and toes that I can smile and get through it!!

BC xx

Monday, January 4, 2010

Some images for you!

Thought I would share with you some images from my newly-printed portfolio!
Please feel free to comment, I haven't had much feedback on the images so any thoughts (compliments or constructive criticism!) are more than welcome!

Click the image to see a larger version. Enjoy!!
BC xx

Massive step forward!

Following my previous post on New Years resolutions, I'm capitalising on my current motivation and kicking my own butt into gear. So yesterday I purchased my portfolio folder, and printed 11 photos to put into it!!

*happy dance*

It's quite amazing to see my work in print. It's totally different to seeing it on the computer monitor. Everything is so crisp and clear, colours are more true, and it feels more.... real. Like this is actually a job for me, not just an expensive hobby!!

I know a lot of new makeup artists struggle to find a portfolio folder that they like and that fits the print sizes that we need. I chose to print 8x12 because I wanted them to be a decent size but not quite the industry standard 11x14 (just in case they didn't turn out!). I soon found out that 8x12 is about 3mm too long for a standard A4 size book. But my salvation came in the most unlikely aisle of Kmart - scrapbooking! I found a 12x12 black covered scrapbooking album which is just perfect! It also means that I can insert my pictures landscape OR portrait and they will still fit. The album and the 6 black backing sheets cost a total of $14.50 - even better!!

As for the images, there are some that I've already marked as the first to get replaced when I get new images. Others I just adore. But to have a folder of 11 images to show people is just magic. Even though it's just been my family so far!!

It's a small step, but it's in the right direction - so I'm really happy :)

Hope you achieved something today, however small!
BC xx

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolutions for a new year

Well New Years Eve came and went, so now it's 2010! I must admit I'm a sucker for NY resolutions, so I thought I would share some of my beauty-related ones:

1. Find a new skincare regimen and stick to it - sometimes I can be a 'do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do' kinda gal, and skincare is my biggest failure. After six months of overcleansing (thanks to my makeup class, I could be cleansing my skin up to four times a day!), testing random products and occasionally sleeping with my makeup still on (oh, the shame...) it's time to get my skin in order. I'll be looking for a range that will help tame my oil production but keep my dehydration in check, whilst preventing early signs of aging. Any suggestions are welcome, otherwise keep an eye out for future skincare posts :)

2. Diversify my makeup portfolio - aah, the neverending quest for the perfect portfolio. I want to keep challenging myself to always strive to add something 'different' to my images, rather than multiple copies of the same techniques. By the end of this year I would also love to have created my own 'series' of images.

3. Work on a film/TV shoot - this is the one area that I have had little to no exposure to, and I would dearly love to try! When I started this new career I made a promise to myself that I would try every genre of makeup artistry before I decided what I wanted to specialise in. I've done a lot of print photography work, worked on a runway show and of course had a ball working with private clients, but film and TV has been rather elusive to date. Once I've finished with my current run of photo shoots, this will be my next focus.

So that's some of my goals for 2010 - what can I say, I like having a plan! Feel free to share some of your goals for the next 12 months, or even longer.

Best wishes to you all for the coming year :)
BC xx