Makeup Brushes Make the Difference | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Northern Virginia


My brushes at a shoot with Goodhart Photography.

Ever wonder how makeup artists make your makeup look so good?  The answer is: brushes.  Well, and talent, but seriously, brushes make the difference!  I learned this many years ago while I was working at Nordstrom.  I was selling designer clothing and I needed a designer look for my makeup too.   My trés chic manager sent me to the MAC counter to have my face done and a favorite makeup artist of mine explained why I should invest in great brushes.

When I was younger I modeled and danced my way around the DC beltway.  I would use the applicators that came with the cosmetics to put on my stage makeup.  If you have these in your makeup collection toss them out!  They are not doing us any favors!  Applicators don’t allow you the control and finesse that you get with a brush.  I did have some cheap brushes as well but once I tried the professional quality brushes I couldn’t go back.

Each brush accomplishes a specific task.  A few may be multi-taskers, but for the most part, the brush will do it’s job for you, making you look like a pro!  I recommend investing in a few brushes:  a liner brush, one for shadow in the crease of your lid, one that covers your lid with shadow, and a blush/powder brush.

I am still using the very same brushes I bought years back at Nordstrom.  If you take care of them they will last literally decades.  The best way to take care of them is to gently clean them with a brush cleaner, dry them laying on their side so no water runs down into the handle, which could cause the brush to separate from the handle.  If you travel with them keep them protected so that the bristles don’t become bent.

Treat yourself to a brush for your next splurge.  And have me over sometime -I love coming to a client’s home and helping you clean out and organize your makeup drawer!  I will leave you with an overview of how to use what you have creatively and properly, and give you a shopping list of what would make your beauty collection complete.    -Meredith





Accessorize In An Instant! | Meredith Ehler | Wardrobe Stylist | Loudoun County, Virginia

Some say that accessories make the outfit.  I know that I feel more put together when I am well accessorized.  But I don’t always make time to add finishing touches.  All of that changed when I bought a few key organization pieces.  Now that things are organized and I can see what I have I can add key pieces in an instant.

My accessories.

I use a tie hanger for necklaces.  A jewelry organizer from an accessory store is great for small pieces like earrings, pendants  and pins.  A few S-hooks are perfect for a few belts. And a felt lined scarf holder keeps my scarves organized without being wrinkled.  I have a jewelry organizer with bigger pockets for bracelets and flowers that  I use as hair accessories.



My super-chic girlfriend has a fantastic collection of jewelry.  She uses similar jewelry organizers.  Her organizers are juicy – stuffed to the brim with all kinds of treasures.

options, options!

more fun!

It’s time to get your accessories out of the drawers and bins so you can see them and get accessorized in an instant!  -Meredith


HFB’s FAQ’s | Meredith Ehler | Stylist | Northern Virginia

Readers often ask me for advice about home, fashion and beauty.  I thought I would share a few of their questions and my answers in case you have the same ones.   

doing hair, makeup and styling for a shoot with Goodhart Photography.

What is my favorite mascara?  Anything MAC, Diorshow, Lancome Definicils, or CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion.

How do I keep my eyeliner from wearing off during the day?  Line your eyes with an eye pencil and then “set” it with a similar or darker shadow.   Use a thin, flat, liner brush, with stiff bristles, to draw right over the liner with shadow.

How do I decide where to hang pictures on my wall?  Eye level.  That being said, eye level for a person that is about 5’10″. I recommend hanging photos or smaller pictures in a cluster.  When one small thing is hung by itself it feels out of place, even if it’s a small wall. Honestly, some walls should be left empty.  White space is ok!  Too many small things being hung everywhere is distracting.  Your eyes need a place to rest, white space is that place.  Art and pictures look wonderful when grounded to something else, by hanging similar things with it in a cluster or when a big item is hung over a table or couch.

How do I choose the right paint color?  Start by choosing swatches of paint that you like.  I recommend hanging them on your wall and making notes about how much you like the color during different times of day.  For example, I may write directly on the swatch “good in A.M.”.  Then at night I will check the swatches again and comment if I like it in the “P.M.”.  Then after a few days I will see which I liked the most at different times of day.  Colors look very different in different light.  You can also paint a small sample onto a piece of poster board. This works great because you can move the board around the room and see how it looks in different exposures of light.  Most stores sell samples of paint and Benjamin Moore sells pre-painted poster board of some of it’s most popular boards.

Am I supposed to buy and wear neon colors just because the stores are pushing them on us?  No.  Trends come and go.  Only buy it if it speaks to you.  It’s always fun to buy one piece of the current trend to add to your wardrobe.  But don’t buy too much.  You don’t want to look like a fashion victim!  And the trends don’t last so don’t invest too much money in the trend.  Save some of your money for the next trend which will be arriving soon!

Do dry shampoos really work?  Yes.  They come in different formulas.  I have used the dry powder form.  I sprinkled  it onto my scalp and then gently massaged it into my hair. The powder gets absorbed by any oils in your hair and scalp and your hair no longer looks shiny.  I have heard the spray formula works well.








Bridal Makeup For Your Wedding Day | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Northern Virginia

Today I had the pleasure of doing a makeup trial for bride-to-be Kristy – what a doll! She is getting married soon so we did a trial look for her to ensure she looks gorgeous as she walks down the aisle.  We discussed the look Kristy had in mind for her big day.

FOUNDATION: Make sure your skin is prepped so that your foundation will look flawless. I used a liquid foundation in a shade that was perfect for her skin-tone.  I added a bit of powder to set her foundation.

EYES:  I applied an eye primer to ensure her eye shadow stays put.  Her eyes are amazing so they were so much fun to do.  We opted to use a MAC pigment for shimmer on the lid.  I used a light burgundy in her crease and black eyeliner, set with a deep plum shadow.  We added a few coats of black mascara and few single false eyelashes (not a full strip) to the outer corner of her eyes –  for wispy, gorgeous lashes!

LIPS: We lined her lips and filled them in completely with the liner, and popped it with some gloss.  Lining the entire lip in a color that is close to your lip color ensures that color will stay on your lips longer than if you use liner only on the edges.

SPARKLE: I approach sparkle in bridal makeup conservatively.  It is important that you minimize any reflective makeup so that you look don’t look shiny in your pictures. You may consider taking a few pictures with a flash after your trial to make sure there are no distracting reflections.




DIY Artwork | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Sterling, Virginia

After months of searching for just the right piece of art to put over my mantle, I decided to give up – and paint my own!  Sure, there is plenty of beautiful home decor out there but to find the perfect size, shape, colors, subject, design AND be at the right price point can be frustrating.    I never found anything that spoke to me in my price range.  So I got out the paint and brushes and just started painting.

The good news is that it turned out pretty well.  And if it hadn’t then I would have just painted over it and tried again.  This painting began as a typical print that you see at any home store.  I got this one at Home Goods in the clearance aisle.  It used to be very bright colors: blacks, reds and blues.  I bought it for the shape and size.  It’s 36″ x 36″.

My family room is blues and browns so that is where I started.  I got out a bunch of paint and began painting big broad strokes to cover all of the former design.  I wasn’t sure what I would end up with so I just kept painting, blending different colors randomly.   My faith is very important to me so I ended up painting a cross using all the colors of our decor.  I love the way it turned out and most of all I love that it was cheap and customized just for our house and our style.

Consider turning your trash into treasure.  If you have a painting that is no longer suiting your decor, consider doing the same thing yourself, or finding a daring friend to do it for you.  Check out more amazing trash to treasure ideas at my talented friend’s blog:  Or like her Facebook page Trash To Treasure.  -Meredith


Easter’s On It’s Way – Easter Decor | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Fairfax County, Virginia

Easter is special to me because it is a celebration of my savior Jesus’s resurrection.  It is fitting that Easter decor is so life affirming.  The holiday itself centers around rebirth and new life.  I love seeing sparkly pastel colored bunnies and eggs shimmering throughout my house.

With the change of every season I work in items that reflect the time of year.  I remove some items that I keep out all year long and replace them with holiday decor.  Like this overhead picture of my Pottery Barn mercury glass pedestal bowl.  I usually have decorative crystals filling the bowl.  For Easter I replaced them with hand-decorated antique eggs.  My husband’s great-grandmother hand decorated them almost 100 years ago!  I treasure them!  But if I didn’t have them I would be putting adorable finds from HomeGoods and Pier one in there instead.

My kitchen table centerpiece.

Some of the items like the Herend bunnies and the painting of the 3 crosses on my mantle stay out all year round.  The mercury glass votives are out all year as well. I just added the bunnies and flower-covered eggs.

My mantle.

This display is out all year.  Again, I simply added a few bunnies.  

My kitchen counter.

As my children age I cherish these last few attempts to keep Easter egg hunts alive.  This year their uncle and aunt are taking them to the White House Easter Egg Roll.  What a coup!  Each child gets to take home a keepsake, decorative egg.

Glittery eggs dangling from my Easter tree on my kitchen counter.

Add a bunny and some eggs anywhere in your house.  You do not have to pack things away, just find an empty space and add some festive decor.

Precious ceramic eggs I decorated as a child.

This cross is out all year long but it has special meaning at Easter.

A handmade cross from Charleston, SC hangs on my kitchen wall.

Happy Easter!  -Meredith