Christmas Decor Already? Sorry Thanksgiving! | Meredith Ehler | Holiday Decorator | Fairfax County, Virginia

 

one of my Christmas trees.

I have to formally apologize to Thanksgiving because I started my Christmas decorating a week before the day of thanks.  It has been a whirlwind of decorations, open and half empty bins lining every hall, glitter in every corner of the house, and each morning awaking with claw-like, sliced-up hands (arranging those boughs is painful work!)  But it is all worth it!  As a Christian I try to be thankful every day for the gifts God has given me so it was easy to pack up those turkeys early and break out all the bins!

my dining room table-scape display.

It is always exciting to see how the house shapes up.  I have 3 decorated trees, 2 decorated chandeliers and tons of lights and ornaments adorning every surface.  I can’t wait to share details of this years decor.  Please “like” my facebook page or subscribe to the RSS feed on my blog so you don’t miss a post. -Meredith

my dining room chandelier.

Photos courtesy of Goodhart Photography.  http://goodhartphotography.blogspot.com/

 

Let The Holiday Decorating Begin! | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Potomac Falls, Virginia

The holidays officially begin with fall and Halloween decor these days.  My philosophy is there is never too much blingy holiday decor!  Here are a few pictures of some of the vignettes I have around my house.  I have walked you through a few ways I approach decor.

Sparkly Pink Pumpkin.

These are right off the shelves of Target and TJ Maxx but when I add the fresh roses and candy corn garland it becomes a vignette.

My Entry-way.

I only changed a few things here.  I added the orange damask fabric, a few pumpkins, and draped a fall garland from Michael’s over my painting.  I store the sea shells that are usually displayed near the picture frames in the drawer until spring.

Monkey Mask under glass.

I pack away items and knick-knacks that appear to springy or summery.  That way the color palate is more monochromatic and harmonious.  There is usually a bird statue under the glass, not a monkey mask.

My Husband’s Office.

Adding a bit of your personal style to things is what makes holiday decor work.  There are no rules, just incorporate a few holiday items into what you already have out.  I just added the ceramic pumpkin and orange blossom branches. -Meredith

Halloween Delight | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Loudoun County, Virginia

Halloween has risen to be one of the most popular holidays for which we decorate.  I enjoy decorating to celebrate a Tuesday so I of course enjoy decking the Halloween halls.  Here are some fun pictures to hopefully inspire some extra-special fun in your house this Halloween!

Halloween Centerpiece

Above is a picture of my kitchen table.  The tablecloth is actually a black and white drapery panel.  Upon which I have placed a black silk scarf from Nordstrom.  Then I placed the same mirrored tiles I have blogged about in my everyday tablescape.   A few pumpkin scented votives, crystal scatter, wired ribbon and some sparkly pumpkins fill the space.  The trees are from a clearance sale last year at a discount store and I threw in a few Christmas ornaments that I set aside because they are the colors of fall.

My Kitchen Chandelier

Of course I never leave a chandelier bare in my house.  I propped up some Halloween trees and tied some candy corn ornaments on their tops.  I have twisted around ribbon and swagged the candy corn garland around the base.

How It All Began!

So here’s the mess that starts it all!  Yes, I have a nice husband that allows me to clog up our storage spaces with all of these “necessities”.  I am blessed!  But I may need decor therapy!  -Meredith

 

Bold Paint Color – Bold Accessories | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Northern Virginia

My dining room is really coming together.  I just love the way all of my accessories have come together.  The accessories are not exactly subtle! But the end result is just how I wanted it!   How about that paint color?  Paint sure does make an impact.

Before

 

After!

Someday I will reveal all of my secrets.  For now, suffice it to say, the items I have used are from a variety of stores that may surprise you.  Others are from TJ Maxx and Marshalls, my favorites!  Be daring both in color and your accessories.  Bigger is better! Have fun and experiment with different styles.  Get out of your comfort zone!  Decor is supposed to be fun and reflect your personality.  Make sure yours does!  -ME

 

Makeup Tips – From Eyes to Lips! | Meredith Ehler | Fairfax County | Makeup Artist

Me doing makeup and hair for beautiful Sammy. Photo courtesy of Christy Jenkins Photography.

A big “hello” to all the ladies I met tonight at the Open House for Generations Medical Aesthetics, www.restonskincare.com.   I had the BEST time meeting all of you and doing makeup for you!  Many of you had questions about the products and techniques I used so I decided to post it all just for you!  I hope everyone else can benefit as well.

EYE LINER:

I am a fan of using shadow as eyeliner for a daytime look because it has a softer look than liner.  I apply a dark shadow very close to the actual lash line.   The best way to apply it is to use my favorite tool is the eyeliner brush from ELF.  I used a dark purple that is almost black, Shadowy Lady.  I line it straight onto the lid or I use it on top of a pencil liner.  I love gel liner and liquid liner but those looks can be dramatic.  Using shadow allows you to control how much drama you want on your eye.

BROWS:

I also use this brush to extend and darken the brows of many women.    I use the MAC Espresso eye shadow.  Dip the ELF liner brush in the shadow and make light brush strokes all along your eyebrows.

Eyeliner Brush

my favorite brush!

 

MY FAVORITE TOOL:

The above eyeliner brush from ELF or eyeslipsface.com.  I use it constantly, on eyes and brows and it’s only $1!

Eye Primer:  I can’t live without MAC paint pot in Painterly.  It’s an eye primer.  Put it on your lid before you apply makeup.  It will prep your eyelid and ensure that the shadow will not move around on you.

LIPS:  I prefer a 3 layered lips – liner, lipstick and gloss.  Lining your lips gives you a finished look and helps make smaller lips look fuller.  Adding gloss just to the middle section of your lips makes them look poutty.

 

oh so pretty!

I am not sure if I covered everything.  Ladies, please leave me a comment and ask any questions you may have.  I will update the post with the new information.  Like my facebook page (homefashionbeauty.com) so you will see when I post new posts and updates!   -Meredith

 

How to Prepare for Your High School Senior Portrait Session | Meredith Ehler | Image Consultant | Loudoun County, Virginia

Congratulations – you are about to have a portrait session with a professional photographer!  Get excited because you are in for a great time!  There is a bit of homework to do beforehand however.  But don’t worry,  it’s fun homework.  You have to become your own personal stylist to ensure that you look amazing in your pictures!

Whether your session is in a studio or outside, you need to prepare yourself and the outfits you will be wearing for the shoot.  As a stylist I want to make sure your personality shines through but doesn’t overwhelm “you” in your pictures.  Choose your hair style, makeup and wardrobe carefully so that your style is your perfect accessory!

Choosing Your Outfits

Most likely you will be photographed in a “drape” for your yearbook picture as well as in a few of your own outfits.   The typical outfits to prepare are a few casual outfits, an outfit that reflects your hobby like a sport or an instrument you play, and a formal outfit like a prom dress.  Your job is to go through your wardrobe, plan out the outfits and accessorize each of them, from jewelry to the shoes and even undergarments they may require.  Solid colors are best because patterns and busy designs can be overwhelming and don’t always photograph well.  You can always bring an outfit you aren’t sure about with you and the photographer will let you know if it will work.  Shoes don’t always show in the shot but assume they will and bring them along just in case.

lay out your outfits

Attention to Details

During your session you will be posing in different positions.  Some poses will show your fingernails and maybe even toenails.  Make sure to have a fresh manicure and pedicure for your shoot.  Even if you do your nails yourself.  Choosing a simple color, even a clear coat or a french manicure will look great in the pictures.  If you choose a deep color or a mutli-colored manicure it may be distracting.  And remember, we want YOU to stand out, not your nails.

Think about the jewelry and watch you wear in the shoot.  I recommend choosing different accessories that fit the “feel” of each outfit.  For example:  remove your sport watch or friendship bracelets for outfits that are dressy like a prom dress or senior drape.  I suggest laying your outfits out on your bed, with clothing, shoes and accessories too.  This way you can see everything for the entire shoot right in front of you.  If anything stands out too much, consider swapping out that item for one with a more subtle look.  The most important thing in your pictures is you!  Your personal style should not overwhelm you in your pictures.

Beauty Prep

Little things can show up in a big way in your photos.  I recommend having your hair and makeup done by me or a professional like me before your shoot.  I finish the session by making  sure my clients have the essentials with them to do touch ups during the shoot as well.  I recommend bringing a lip gloss with some color in it to re-apply as yours wears off, a compact of powder or oil-blot sheets in case you get shiny, and a hair brush to keep your hair from getting messy as you change your outfits.

A week before consider having your eyebrows shaped and make sure your roots don’t need a touch up.

have your hair and makeup done

OR – Hire a Stylist to Get Ready for Your Shoot

Treat yourself to one of my most popular services  - styling services before and during photo shoots.  I will do all of the work for you!  I am available to help you plan your wardrobe as well as do your hair and makeup for the session.  I can also stay during the session to style you during the shoot, ensuring that you look your absolute best in your photos. Most importantly – have fun and SMILE!

-Meredith

 

 

Makeup Brush Care | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Northern Virginia

Before each client I have a routine for prepping my makeup, brushes and work area.  An important part of the routine is cleaning my brushes.  Recently, I posted about the importance of investing in good quality brushes and how taking are of them will extend their life to last decades.  Each brush has a specific job to do and makeup built up over time prevents the brush from being able to do it’s job.  A reader shared with me how she read my post and decided to cleaned her brushes for the first time in a long time and she felt as if she had just bought a brand new set of brushes!

 

Cleaning my brushes.

 

You won’t believe how washing your brushes will improve the quality of your makeup application.   I keep a bottle of brush cleaner and a plastic cup in my makeup cabinet so I can clean my brushes easily.  I use a brush cleaner from MAC.  It is similar to a simple shampoo or a dish soap which can be substituted if you would like.  Use a very small amount, about the size of a pea and dilute it in about a cup or 2 of warm water.  I swish the brushes around gently, being careful not to break the bristles.  If they are heavily soiled with makeup you can first wipe the brush onto a dark washcloth or a disposable cloth.  I have a few dark brown wash clothes to use with my makeup so I never see a stain.  Set aside brushes on a towel for rinsing later.

 

Some brushes may need to be cleaned a few times to remove dark makeup.  It can be necessary to use many cups of this solution because brushes that are very dirty will muddy the water quickly.   After all are clean I then swish each brush in the same cup this time filled with clean cool water.  Larger brushes can be shaken out a bit into the sink to remove excess water, then gently towel dried.  Each brush is gently dried with a towel, reshaping the bristles.

 

Drying my brushes.

 

I set out the damp brushes on their sides, slightly tilted brush end down.  This is important because you do not want water running down into the brush itself.  This will cause the brush to come loose and the bristles and brush head may detach from the handle.  Let the brushes dry on their sides for a few hours or over night.  Then enjoy your clean, rejuvenated brushes!  -Meredith

 

Makeup for High School Seniors | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Sterling, Virginia

This past week I had the pleasure to do makeup for 2 beautiful rising high school seniors, Marisa and Maddy.   Basically I am their personal stylist – just like stars have before they walk the red carpet

makeup and hair for Maddy.

I have the privilege of working with a few local Fairfax and Loudoun County photographers and their clients.  The clients typically come to me before they have their photo session for makeup, hair styling, and styling of their outfits they will be wearing for the session.  It’s traditional for high school students, both girls and guys, to have a professional photographer do a portrait session just before their senior year.

makeup for Marisa.

Today, the session with Marisa started with styling her wardrobe.  We chose the outfits that will work best in front of a camera.  We chose the accessories that will best highlight each outfit.  Today’s shoot was with Angela Goodhart of Goodhart Photography.  She has amazing backdrops that work with a myriad of colors and styles of clothing, and personalities!

adding accessories to the adorable dresses.

Then we moved onto makeup.  My goal is to have my client go to her photography session feeling beautiful and confident.  I like to prepare each girl for what to expect during the shoot.  The more they know then the quicker they can become comfortable in front of the camera and the more fun they will have!

makeup!

Any occasion for a professional is a perfect occasion for me to style you!  I recently did hair and makeup for a beautiful client who was doing a special photo book for her husband-to-be as a wedding gift.   I am also available to stay with your during the shoot and style each shot to make sure your hair, makeup, and wardrobes look amazing!   Schedule me right after you schedule your shoot with your photographer to ensure I am available for your shoot date.

-Meredith

Table Centerpiece Ideas | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Northern Virginia

I am always changing the decor in my house.  Some part of my house is changing every few weeks.  My latest table centerpiece, however, has stuck around for a while because I love it.  I thought I would share it with you.

my kitchen table.

My design starts with the most reflective surface there is  - mirrors!  I love sparkle! Anything that glitters makes me happy!  I started with simple mirror panels from Lowes. They come in a pack of 10 or so and are about $12.  They are so versatile.  The beveled edges give it a high end look.

a package of mirrors are the base.

Go shopping in your cabinets!  When I go to a clients home I always ask if i can see the cabinet where they store their wedding gifts they never use, or to show me that tray they got from Aunt Edna and have no idea what to do with.  Inevitably that item becomes the inspiration piece for what I end up designing for them!  My inspiration piece was the blue tray I got from my mother-in-law for my birthday.  It was too pretty to put away in a cabinet.

a peacock Christmas decoration from my mom.

From there I added a few of my favorite knick-knacks.  They don’t necessarily make any sense together which is why I like it.  It’s whimsical and fun.  The items I used were from my own collection of stuff.  Yes, I do have bags of fake fruit and peacocks and antique silver candlesticks just laying around in a storage closet.   But if you don’t, items like these can be found at places like Pier-1 and Michaels, and the Herend china items are found at Neiman’s.

my favorite Herand bunnies. they stay out all year round.

Have fun, and comment or send me pix!  I would love to share your masterpiece on my blog!  If you are local, have me over  - or let’s Skype!  Message me or find me on facebook on my homefashionbeauty.com page.  I am excited to help you build your beautiful home!

the final product.

-Meredith

Check Your Neck – Skincare | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Loudoun County

Three generations together; my mom, my daughter and me.  This photo reminds me of some of the advice my mom has given me throughout my life.  Lately I have been very grateful for her advice regarding caring for my neck.  Yes, my neck.  Specifically to moisturize my neck.  Since I was a teenager I have always included my neck and décolleté (upper chest area), as part of my routine.  Now that I have been over 29 for a few years, ahem, I am so glad that I did.

She always told me it is important to take care for your skin at as young an age as possible.  We all now know to use face creams and makeup with SPF to prevent sun damage.  But many of us forget our neck, décolleté, and ear lobes.  They all are subject to freckling and sun damage.  Applying sunscreen and facial products with SPF to these areas will slow the aging process keeping you looking younger longer.  There are ways to undo some sun damage, like laser facials, which I will blog about soon.

Another reason to check your neck is to make sure your face and neck are the same color. When you apply your makeup consider applying bronzer to your neck.  Especially as we are starting to be outside more, our faces may get more sun than our neck and décolleté.  Make sure you invest in a bronzer without shimmer to use on these areas.  I recommend a bronzer with no shimmer because using it on these areas is to even out your overall color, not to add shimmer.  Bronzers with shimmer are great but for the purpose of adding sparkle and color when you want to shine!   -Meredith

Photo courtesy of Angela Goodhart, Goodhart Photography.