Elegant and timeless look for Karen

I love Karen! Besides booking me so early & extremely enthusiastic about having me, she was also very very helpful by sending me all visual clues in a PDF file before trial. I was amazed…  Here’s what she sent me (I skipped a few pages):

What else can a makeup artist ask for? I can go back to her PDF file at any time and there it is… everything I need to know about her plus her bridal party.

So, let’s go the trial. Here’s a great example of how I conduct a trial. I listen to the client’s likes and dislikes and from there trying to make her look her most beautiful while incorporating her ideas into the final look. I don’t do cookie-cutter makeup, so I see each bride as a unique individual. I won’t turn her down on her visions, but I will tell her my professional inputs.

So, based on Karen’s visions and wants, I gave her the makeup and hair that is closest to her idea and still within her comfort zone (though I already pushing her comfort zone because she rarely ever wears makeup). The deeper lip color was also for her liking, because she said she’s not a “pink lipstick” girl, she’s more of a mauve/berry. For the hair, Karen was hoping for piece-y, woven strands in front, but because her hair texture was really really fine, a bit limpy and wavy, I did the best I could… so here’s what we came up with:

She was happy with the look, no question asked, but I wasn’t, to be honest. After every trial, I think of how to improve it, unless I felt the look was perfect. So I wanted to make her look better, both in person & in photos. I realized the curls in the front (to frame her face) look really pretty on her in person, but in picture, it makes her face appear rounder.  Plus, with her fine hair, if up loosely like that, I’m afraid the curls will be gone quickly or messy after a while.

So … let’s fast forward to the wedding day:) I came to her house at 4am in the morning, with A CHANGE OF PLAN for her best interest. Karen was a doll in my hands. I told her my thoughts of certain necessary changes, and she said, “Yeah, I trust you Aimee!”


1. Side-swept bang to frame her face better & workable with her crystal headband

2. Lower undo (better for a bare back in wedding dress) with well-pinned loop curls – to last entire night.

3. A more brownish pink lipstick instead of berry/mauve. I wanted her eyes to stand out, not her lips.

And, here are her wedding photos (courtesy from photographer Mark Kuroda)

I’m totally happy with the alteration. This look suits her personality as well as her dress much better.

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Sultry eyes & elegant side updo for Kristen

This wedding is one of the no-trial weddings. Kristen had to skip the trial because she is an OB-Gyn grad doing her 3rd year residency in New York, extremely busy, so she said she wouldn’t be in the Bay Area before the day of her wedding. I said it’s ok to skip the trial, but I need visual clues in place of it, the more specific the better. Kristen was so nice and helpful. She gave me all the photos that I asked for, even her bridal party and what kind of styles they were looking for.  She herself said she liked an updo I did for another bride here, but smaller bun.

Below are all photos she sent me for reference: herself without makeup, with makeup, in her wedding dress, another hair idea, and a flower for her hair that she already bought.

Kristen only decided about her makeup style on the day of, that’s how easy-going she was. But, she was already so pretty to begin with, so what can go wrong with her makeup.  She was smiling a lot and so relaxed. When it got to her turn, I asked her for the makeup reference again, and she said casually, “I think … smoky”  I asked her if she wants any specific color and she said whatever you think is best. I asked her what about purple. She said yes with a big smile. So I did what I think would be best for her.

I actually didn’t really do a smoky eyes for her because I felt that it might overshadow her deep beautiful set of eyes. I knew that what she need would be good lashes and the right colors to help her eyes pop. So I did a simple wash of lavender and purple on her lids, thin liners and double the lashes. I wanted to make her look stunning but sweet and approachable as the way I felt from her. Her beauty isn’t one that makes you feel intimidated, but more like making you admired and you just want to get to know her better.

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Elegant Makeup & Wavy Updo for Stephanie

Stephanie locked the date with me way ahead of time, and being so sweet and lovable on both the trial & the wedding day. Admired a makeup I did for her friend before, she asked for the same look: smoky eyes, but it turned out that a defined and elegant look would work much better on her compared to smoky.

So on the day of, I spent a great deal of time on her skin to make sure it looks nice & a little bit dewy. Then, for the eyes, I carefully draw her eyeliners to get to a perfect thickness and length & chose a pair of full & long false lashes for her. And that helped her eyes photographed beautifully, not too natural and not too made-up. I then chose natural blush color, add a little highlight for her upper cheeks, and finish off with a pinkish mauve color for her lips.

Just looking at her photos below I’m sure you can tell what a great planner she was. Steph is an eye doctor, but she has the artistic touch of a fine art major. She sew her bridesmaids’ dresses, put together her hair flower (using her grandma’s pearl button in the center of the flower – as for “something old”), and designed the thank-you cards for all her vendors, and many many more little wonderful DIY touches.

And the best part was… she hired such a great photographer, Adrienne Gunde. She flew Adrienne up from Los Angeles and I’m so glad I got to work with such a talented photographer.  Totally in love with what Adrienne did for Stephanie’s wedding …


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Bridal Makeover for Jaime

Jaime, a former model, wanted to retake her wedding photos since she didn’t get to have much bridal portrait on her real day. Another reason was she wasn’t too in love with her wedding day makeup. Before she got married, in 2011, she tried to get a hold of me but I wasn’t in town for a long time. I was working oversea. So, being as a low-key girl as she is, she just decided that she would get her makeup done at the mall on the day of. She called & booked a time, but she didn’t get to choose an artist nor even thinking about it. So, on the day of her wedding, when the counter makeup artist asked if she’d want “smoky eyes”, she just nodded thinking “that’s what I normally do anyway”…  Anyhow, it turned out way darker than she pictured and the dark shadows came up so high above her lids. She looked more like she was ready for a dramatic photoshoot than for her wedding day. After the ceremony, her husband pulled her aside and said “Wow, you have A LOT of makeup on…”

Therefore,  this wedding day reshoot was something she’s so look forward to.  I knew that though she loves smoky eyes, her eyes can’t bear heavy black eyes shadows.  I still did smoky but not bringing up high, and I added a little bit of green for a different smoky look, which I think would contrast well with her hair color and her pale skin.  Then I gave her a full pair of lashes to finish the eye makeup. For the skin, she has nice skin but it was dry, so I just concentrated on skin prep and then airbrushed her skin to make it more even but still let some of her freckles show. Airbrush can hide most flaws, but I only do full coverage for dark spots and blemishes, not for freckles. I like to do a sheer or semi-sheer layer so they still show, unless the client request otherwise.  The rest of the makeup was kept simple, I contoured her cheeks and used Nars Orgasm on her, added light pink lipstick and a pearly gloss on top.

These photos were taken by the talented Dominic Wong. He took Jaime to San Jose State Library and then a few areas close by, including the parking garage on 4th street and a bar right across the library:)It was a lot of fun.

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Bridal Hair Pieces and Jewelries Shoot

Earlier this month, I get to meet an amazing bridal hair accessories and jewelries designer, Bonnie. I’m so surprised that for all these time working in the field, I never got to know about Bonnie’s shop and what she has to offer. She offers trial run for the brides at her shop in Campbel. The brides can try not only jewelries, hair accessories but also veil, but can also ask her to customize (adding, subtracting parts of a design) all pieces. Isn’t that amazing? Now I know where to send my brides to after the trial run with me.

So that morning, I drove to Campel to meet Bonnie at her shop for the first time. We got along so easily and we had so much fun talking about ideas & choosing pieces for the shoot. I was so impressed with her collection and her wonderful personality.  Fast forward … On the shooting day, we encountered unexpected time crunch. We must finish our shoot in 15m due to an unforeseen situation. I felt so bad for Dominic, our photographer. He had about 5m to set up the background  and lighting, then shot as quickly as he could. There was really NO time for Dominic to talk to the model about the poses or giving her any direction as we go. It was just click click click – change the hair piece/jewelries in seconds, then click click click … Also, we didn’t even get through 1/4th of all the beautiful pieces that Bonnie lent me. What a shame.

Anyhow, still, we were able to come up with these images below, thanks to Dominic!  If it weren’t for you being able to handle the stress and shoot in such a constrained time frame, this would never have been possible. You saved the day!


Photo by Dominic Wong: http://imanstudios.net/

All accessories by Bonnie from One World Designs (408) 871-7064

Browse through her pieces on Etsy store

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