All About the Bridesmaids…

Above, Grace Kelly and her bridesmaids in 1956.

Above, Grace Kelly and her bridesmaids in 1956.

Although I am not yet married—No Rush, here!—I am honored to have been invited to 9 beautiful weddings as a young adult. (Three happened this summer alone!) I have been a bridesmaid in two and a maid of honor in one of those celebrations. I have girlfriends that tell me that they’re jealous because they’ve not yet experienced being a bridesmaid. Well, let me tell you, sisters, it’s no easy feat. It’s a serious once-in-a-lifetime event to dedicate all your positive vibes, thoughts, and most importantly, time to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the honor and privilege that it is to bare witness to loved ones on one of the most meaningful day of their lives. I’m actually kicking off our feature on bridesmaids by saying this: Enjoy it, soak it up, and learn from it.
Here are some fantastic reasons why:
Travel: Some couples decide to get married in their hometown while others decide to head to Napa or Mexico. The bachelorette party could be at Cedar Point or maybe even in Nashville. Regardless, as a bridesmaid you will probably have some travel in your future which typically means super rare hotel and flight perks from the bride-to-be! Not to mention, awesome intimate trips with a small group all for the same purpose. We love that!
Gifts: Let’s be honest…Every gal loves gifts. And although being a bridesmaid isn’t all about great swag, it’s still a perk! Your bride is going to want to say “thank you” in a beautiful way. And since she’s asked you to be a part of one of the biggest days of her life, it’ll probably be in the form of fabulous.
Dresscode = VIP: Maybe the dress your friend has asked you to wear is not your color, or maybe you’ve never worn your hair up outside of the gym in your life (a personal example), but guess what. You just have to do it! But with the snags (I mean literal snags if you’re wearing a polyester faux-chiffon bridesmaid gown) come the benefits: Typically as a bridesmaid you’ll get to sit at a cozy head table with the wedding party who you’ve already gotten to know, witnessing the married couple in bliss right after they say “I do!” Another bonus? Your group will be the first to be served dinner and get your champagne glass filled…and refilled!
TLC: A lot of weddings themselves are on the natural and more simplistic side these days, but one thing most brides don’t skimp on is beautiful, old fashioned TLC. Whether there are manicures and massages preceding the bachelorette party or practice blow outs before the rehearsal dinner, your bride is probably going to take care of you in the beauty department.
Photographs: As a bridesmaid, you get to have awesome, professional photos taken of you and your girls! The bride and groom obviously want a mega talented photographer to capture their perfect day, and you get to reap that benefit, too!
Lesson in love: Whether you’re head over heels already or you aren’t a believer at all, being a bridesmaid can be a great way to witness love in action. Through the ups and downs and stresses of planning a wedding, being on the sidelines gives you an inside look into awesome relationships on their way to the altar. By their invitation, you are holding the couple accountable for their love and care for each other for the rest of their lives. (And that’s kind of a big deal.) Being so close to such a huge event is truly a magical experience and something to hold sacred.


Content written by Donna Hoffman. Image from Google Images.

A Natural Beauty Project…

No matter how simple or in depth your beauty regimen, you have to admit that you do love to be pampered. But it seems that when we need it the most, it’s least likely to happen. You know what I’m talking about–The week before your BFF’s wedding, for example. Between work and helping to finalize the seating chart, it feels like there isn’t enough coffee in the world to get you through. Or maybe you still haven’t fully recovered from that last minute Labor Day trip up to Marble Head before school started this month. Well, it’s time to wind down and pencil in some “me” time because we’ve been researching some super simple, although lovely, do-it-yourself end of summer home remedies for what’s ailing you.
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Coconut & Coffee Body Scrub:

1/2 Cup Ground Coffee

1/2 Cup Organic Cane Sugar

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Mix all of the ingredients together. If your coconut oil is solid, heat it just a bit until it melts, but make sure it has cooled back to room temperature before adding the other ingredients. Once mixed, store your scrub in an airtight container, and use it when you need to feel revitalized! Let’s talk benefits:

Coffee is full of antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties which will draw out excess water and make your skin feel smoother and more firm. And, because of its texture, it exfoliates amazingly, removing dead skin cells and leaving your skin super silky smooth.

Organic Cane Sugar will act as a second exfoliant. If Cane sugar is too course, you can leave it out entirely, or use a softer, less course sugar such as coconut palm sugar or brown sugar.

Coconut Oil is my personal beauty product obsession right now–I use it for everything from masks to makeup remover–it has awesome, healthy fats and proteins that will keep your skin smooth, moisturized, and rejuenated.

Cinnamon has antiseptic properties which can help clear bacteria from the skin. It also helps to stimulate blood vessels, bringing more blood to the surface of the skin which can help your skin appear smoother.

Ginger Detox Bath Soak:

1/3 Cup Espom Salt

1/3 Cup Sea Salt

1/3 Cup Baking Soda

3 Tablespoons Ground Ginger

Mix together dry ingredients and pour into a comfortably warm/hot running bath. Try to soak for at least 30-45 minutes before rinsing off completely. Rehydrate with water before, during, and after since you will be sweating tons! Whenever I have done a soak like this, I am left feeling sleepy and relaxed, so it’s perfect to do before bed! (These soaks are NOT recommended if you are hypertensive, diabetic, or pregnant. Just a disclaimer!) Now, let’s talk benefits:

Epsom salts draw out toxins from your body while relieving aches and pains.

Sea Salt can relieve dry skin as it naturally opens up pores, improves circulation, which in turn helps to hydrate your healing skin.

Baking soda helps to detoxify and alkalize your body, and for those with sensitive skin, it’s colorless and odorless, leaving your less irritated than with commercial products!

Ground Ginger not only smells amazing, but it will  help you to sweat and release toxins from you skin and tissue, as well as assist in better circulation.

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Calming Face Mask:

1/2 Cup Plain, Organic Yogurt

1/2 Cup Raw Honey

Using a whisk, mix the yogurt and the honey together, then massage on your face for a couple of minutes and rinse with warm water. (I love this mask!)  And the benefits are:

Yogurt has lactic acid which will exfoliate dull skin layers, smooth out fine lines, and tighten your pores.

Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great to help prevent and heal acne, and it’s a natural humectant which will give you a dewy glow! And in my experience, honey has helped fade my acne scars.

lips

Peppermint & Rosemary Lip Scrub:

1/4 Cup Organic Cane Sugar

1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil

1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary

3-5 Drops of Organic Peppermint Oil

Combine the sugar and coconut oil. Let the rosemary dry out on your counter for a bit before mixing in. Then add your 3-5 drops of peppermint oil. To keep your scrub for the next couple weeks, store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. I’ve stated the benefits of the coconut oil and cane sugar above, but let’s discuss the others:

Rosemary helps to moisturize your skin as well as support collagen production.

Peppermint Oil has a cooling effect to skin–as we’ve seen in many lip balms before–it’s especially therapeutic and soothing when used on dry, cracked lips.

hair

Weekly Hair Mask:

1 Tablespoons Organic Light Brown Sugar

1/2 Tablespoon Organic Coconut Oil

Mix your ingredients together and slather mask onto already wet hair. Leave it on for ten minutes, rinse well (sometimes I rinse twice!) with warm water, and wash and style as usual.  Earlier, I listed some of the many benefits of coconut oil, but let’s talk brown sugar:

Brown sugar is a natural exfoliant with no chemical preservatives. It will help remove excess oils and impurities from your hair, and act as a scrub for  your scalp by removing dead skin cells.

nails

Nail Treatment

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Stir the olive oil and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or until it’s just warm to the touch. Stir it and apply to entire nail bed and cuticles. Leave it on while watching an episode of Parks and Recreation (20-30 minutes) and then rinse with warm water. Let’s hear it for the benefits:

Olive oil will penetrate the skin and nail to help soften and repair damage. It will also moisturize your skin during the dry, winter months.

Lemon juice  will help strengthen and whiten your nails without the use of chemicals. Lemons are full of vitamin C and citric acid, so it can help whiten and brighten discolored nails.

We know you are stunning just as you are, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show yourself some natural chemical-free, DIY beauty love!!! Happy pampering!


All images from Google Images.

Ghinda Beauty Project: Make You’s Leigh Ann Ehmann…

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Last summer, were were lucky enough to hold a Ghinda photo shoot at an an absolutely beautiful greenhouse here in Columbus. We were blessed with (dare I say) perfect weather, and an amazing team with their collaboration feelers totally tuned in. That was also the first photo shoot that I, personally, got to work alongside make up artist Leigh Ann Ehmann of Make You Special. And let’s just be honest, she is special! Leigh Ann starts work quietly, but is a hurricane when it comes to getting each girl ready for the camera. Everything she does is so precise, and beautiful. She will make a model striking in an instant, and without taking away from that individual’s natural beauty or features…She is truly an artist, and a joy to be around. After working with her again this spring, we decided we had to hear her voice on the Ghinda Beauty Project, and here it is. 

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Above, two of Leigh Ann’s personal favorite images of her work.

Donna: How does Make You LLC reflect your personality as an individual? How does it feel to be at liberty to put yourself into your work?
 
Leigh Ann: Make You is adventurous and constantly motivated by situations in which to be creative. Since I have a creative mind, I am historically unsuccessful at a 9-5 schedule. By unsuccessful, I mean unchallenged and under paid. To be at liberty to put myself into my work is the most refreshing way that I have ever earned a living.
 
Donna: You work independently, but do plenty of collaborating with others.. What is your favorite part about working solo? And also your favorite part about collaborating?
 
Leigh Ann: Working solo is nice because makeup is my art medium, so I am able to be creative and then influence my clients with said creativity. Collaborative work is a treat in a number of ways: I get to build relationships, participate in a team vision, learn from other creative minds, and benefit from killer final images along with behind the scenes memories.
 
Donna: You travel around often for your appointments and events, but what is your favorite kind of work space to be in?
 
Leigh Ann: The sets and spaces I have worked in are all accommodating and sometimes inhospitable in their own ways, but my favorite kind of work space is one with good, productive energy. The attitudes and passion behind a shoot creates favorable work spaces, in my opinion.
 
Donna: What are your favorite “wind down” suggestions when things get tense at work?
 
Leigh Ann: I wind down by talking things out with non-industry, objective friends or family – usually my wonderful husband, and usually over coffee or wine. 
Donna: How do you think the idea of pampering oneself and beauty in general has evolved for women over time?
 
Leigh Ann: It may sound silly, but I believe our desire to pamper and beautify ourselves has not evolved one bit. Beauty is a constant pressure placed on both women and men by our spirit of competition.
Donna: Inspiration is something that all creatives need, and some days it’s hard to get there. What do you like to do when you need inspiration?
 
Leigh Ann: I like to do other forms of art for inspiration: sketching, painting, even cooking.
Donna: What is the most rewarding part about working in the beauty industry?
 
Leigh Ann: Working in the beauty industry challenges me as a student of communication and business.
 
Donna: At times, the media’s portrayal of what’s beautiful seems one-sided.  What do you feel is the most important element missing from the media’s interpretation of beauty?
 
Leigh Ann: Individual interpretation is missing from the medias portrayal of beauty. Unfortunately, the media has the ability to skew the subjectivity of beauty, and it is important to stay true to my roots amidst this over-stimulation of global society.
 
Donna: Last but not least, what does beauty mean to you?
 
Leigh Ann: Happy confidence.

Visit Leigh Ann’s website to learn more about her business, and how you can book her for you event! 

Watercolor logo created by Linzi Rigsby.Interviewed by Donna Hoffman, Social Media and Event Coordinator at Ghinda Couture Bridal. 

Ghinda Beauty Project: The ladies of The Blowout Bar…

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We really wanted to get the perspective of some girls straight from the beauty industry, so we figured, why not talk to our gal pals (and super cute sisters!) Kristin and Kailen from The Blowout Bar? They have collaborated with Ghinda on a photo shoot recently and we fell in love with the concept, their attitudes and their salon–Now we want to get dolled up by them all the time! Anyway, here’s what they had to contribute:

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Donna:  Tell us about the moment you girls decided to start a business together.
 
Both: We’ve always wanted to go into business together. We were just waiting for the perfect idea. We visited our first blow-dry bar a few years ago together and from that moment, we were hooked. Once we saw blow-dry bars opening in other smaller cities, we knew it was time to bring the concept to Columbus. We took a trip to Nashville to visit a blow-dry bar that just had opened there. We decided to move forward with ours on our way home from Nashville. It was nothing but excitement! 
 

Donna: How does being a small business owner reflect your personality as individuals?
 
Kristin: I believe being authentic, positive, and fun overlaps into my business life and has become part of The Blowout Bar. 
Kailen: My passion and dedication to something I love and believe in has definitely translated into the business.
 

Donna: The Blowout Bar collaborates constantly with other local businesses. You even worked on hair for one of our photo shoots! What is the best part about teaming up with others?
 
Both: We love supporting other small businesses, and Columbus in general. We think that’s what makes this city so special. The willingness to try something new and support each other is something we love and will continue to do. It gives us the opportunity to meet like-minded business owners and continue to learn and grow ourselves!  
 
 
Donna: We all have our own ways of dealing with stress. What are some of The Blowout Bar’s suggestions for winding down when things get tense?
 
Both: Well it’s obvious, but a blowout can change your world! A ten minute scalp massage and a relaxing blowout can really turn a day around. There’s nothing like sitting back and watching a chick flick while sipping on a glass of champagne. We provide all of this at The Blowout Bar, so it’s a one stop shop to wind down or feel better! 
 
 
Donna: There are many negative stereotypes about women working together and maintaining an awesome, strong bond. You two are sisters–How does working together effect your relationship?
 
Kristin: We’ve always been best friends and even growing up, we never fought! We’re very similar, but our differences balance very well together when it comes to the business. Her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. It’s comforting to have your sister by your side every day.
 

Donna: We love that you play “chick flicks” at your salon! What is your favorite? 
 
Kristin: Our favorites are constantly playing, but My Best Friend’s Wedding and You’ve Got Mail are my top two!
Kailen: The Notebook is definitely my favorite (even though it usually comes with a few tears!)
 
 
Donna: How do you think the idea of pampering oneself and beauty in general has evolved for women over time?
 
Kristin: Women are starting to care more about styling their hair. 10 years ago, all we did was straighten our hair to get it as straight as we possibly could! Now, there are dozens of styles to choose from and they’re all in style. That’s where we come in!
Kailen: The capabilities of what we’re able to do with our hair without permanently changing it have really evolved. There are so many tips, tricks, and tools out there that are able to transform any hair type or texture into something completely different. Women are learning that their hair can totally transform within a matter of an hour, and will keep that style for the next 2-3 days.
 
 
Donna: Inspiration is something that all creatives need, and some days it’s hard to get there. What do you like to do when you need inspiration?
 
Both: We love following certain fashion and beauty bloggers on Instagram. That’s where we get most of our inspiration and ideas from. Traveling is always a great driving force behind that too!  
 
 
Donna: What is the most memorable response you received from a woman who came into The Blowout Bar?
 
Kristin: I love hearing when women ask our stylists if they can take them home! It’s something I’ve said over and over. 
 
 
Donna: Last but not least, what does beauty mean to you?
 
Kristin: Feeling comfortable and happy.
Kailen: Confidence and smiles!

Photo of the girls pulled from their website See their Facebook page for awesome updates, such as the menu above!

Watercolor logo created by Linzi Rigsby.

Interviewed by Donna Hoffman, Social Media and Event Coordinator at Ghinda Couture Bridal. 

Ghinda Beauty Project: Jennifer Kessler…

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The project all began with a conversation this winter that I had with Jennifer Kessler, owner and Creative Director at Ghinda. After a day at our downtown studio, we settled in to finish our neglected lattes from that morning’s meetings, and wistfully discussed the impact the fashion and beauty industries have on us all the time—be it on the day of your wedding, your first day at a new job, the last visit from your family—and how, unfortunately, the force that these industries have on our lives can sometimes take us away from ourselves. Our goal behind the Ghinda Beauty Project is to present a reminder to all women  that beauty—really, truly, and simply—isn’t on the outside only. It shows itself in your drive, your actions, what you do when you get out of bed in the morning. Beauty has many facets and we are delighted to shed light on them with you. Don’t get us wrong, we still love (love, love, love)  shopping and getting our eyebrows done, but we want to take time to highlight other awesome features, too; The women we’ll be interviewing may be entrepreneurs, brides-to-be, freelance artists, or just acquaintances who inspire us. No matter what, we can’t wait to share them doing their thing, their way with all of you.

Working for Jen at Ghinda for the last 10 months has taught me many things. Not only have I learned more about business, but I’ve seen firsthand how a positive outlook and kindness can totally enrich my every day life.  So, in honor of her recent birthday, and since a conversation with her got this whole thing started, I talked her into answering a few questions to kick things off for the Ghinda Beauty Project:

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Donna: What does beauty mean to you?

Jen: Beauty is about being completely comfortable and free in your own skin. It seems like beauty is about knowing it’s not about what’s on the outside.  

Donna: What do you think has driven you to accomplish what you have at such a young age?

Jen: I have never considered anything else.

Donna: What do you think the secret to feeling beautiful in your own skin is?

Jen: Confidence that you are free and perfect in whatever way you choose to express yourself. 

Donna: You work with a lot of women–from interns to brides to photographers–There are negative stereotypes about women working together, how do you disprove them?

Jen: It’s about building each other up and being genuinely happy for another’s success.

Donna: Name three things that routinely inspire you.

Jen: Nature, artists, music

Donna: What are your best words of advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs regarding confidence? 

Jen: Just jump.

Donna: Do you think femininity is too often defined by appearance?

Jen: Absolutely.

Donna: What is the most important part of your work day (besides coffee!)?

Jen: My workout/run time when I get to be alone and rejuvenate.

Donna: Did you have any birthday wishes you want to share? 

Jen: Yes!! But if I told them they wouldn’t come true. 

 


Photo of Jen by Jennifer Schaaf of Jojo Photography and Film. Hair and makeup by Leigh Ann Ehmann of Make You LLC. Jewelry designed by Jamie Riley of White Truffle Studio. 

Watercolor logo created by Linzi Rigsby.

Interviewed by Donna Hoffman, Social Media and Event Coordinator at Ghinda Couture Bridal.