Category Archives: Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair’s Camera Ready Style Contest

Behind the Scenes with Estée Lauder’s Global Premier Makeup Artist

I recently gushed in the Toledo City Paper that I really enjoyed meeting Blair Patterson, Estée Lauder’s global premier makeup artist.  He helped me get “camera-ready” for my Vanity Fair photo shoot at the Gallery Met in New York City.  “As he expertly applied product to my face, we intermittently talked of our careers and love lives in between him bestowing absolute gems of advice regarding applying makeup and my apparent calling to move to The City,” I said in this previous post of my time with Blair.

Here are some of those gems of advice from behind the scenes:

  • Start with a flawless and even complexion.  It’s the necessary foundation to begin creating any look.  If you don’t naturally have perfect skin, then use moisturizer, foundation and concealer to make your face appear perfect.
  • To hide under eye circles, use a good eye cream.  “Moisturizing the eye area will help free up the trapped blood under the surface of the skin that causes the circles,” said Blair.  Then use a concealer that has a pearl pigment or a little shimmer to reflect light off the surface of the area.  He used Estée Lauder Ideal Light “Brush-on” Illuminator under my eyes, which is one of his favorite products.
  • Use a darker foundation on the skin below your cheekbone to contour your cheeks.  Blair used Estée Lauder Double Wear Light “Stay-in-Place” Makeup with SPF 10 in Intensity 1 above my cheekbone and Intensity 3 below.
  • Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and slightly upward and back under your eye.  Blair used Estée Lauder Pure Color Blush in Exotic Pink on my cheeks.
  • When applying powder, don’t drag the brush over your skin, but tap it.
  • To highlight eyes, but not shrink small eyes like mine, Blair recommends dotting eyeliner in between the eye lashes of the lower lashline.
  • Fill in eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil or eye shadow that is a shade lighter, unless you have fair eyebrows.  Then use a shade that is shade darker.
  • Apply a bit of powder or bronzer to your neck to even out skin tone and minimize the difference between your made up face and nearly bare neck.
  • For makeup to be camera-ready, wait 15 minutes so that it has time to mix with your skin’s oils and appear natural.  When short on time, Blair suggests dabbing a very small amount of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum onto skin to add luminescence.

Here is a list of Blair Patterson’s Top 10 favorite Estée Lauder products:

  1. Double Wear Light Foundation
  2. Ideal light Concealer
  3. Bronze Goddess Bronzer
  4. Day Wear Plus Tinted Moisturizer
  5. Double Wear Eye Liners (all colors)
  6. Tiramisu Pure Color Lipstick
  7. Passion Fruit Pure Color Lipstick
  8. Advanced Night Repair Serum
  9. Blue Dahlia Eye Shadow Palette
  10. Sumptuous Mascara in Black

For more tips from Blair Patterson visit here for a 2 hour makeup session with and here for a Q&A with

All dolled up, thanks to Blair



Filed under Beauty & Makeup, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City

In local news… Toledo woman in Vanity Fair

It’s quite incredible what a little press release can do!  Last week was a whirlwind of excitement surrounding the release of the June edition of Vanity Fair.  Below are the local news outlets that so generously featured me in their media.  Thank you again for letting me share my experience winning the Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair Camera-Ready Style Contest!

Toledo Blade by Roneisha Mullen 5/5/12

WTOL CBS Channel 11 with Mojgan Sherkat 5/8/12
(Click image for video)

Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune 5/9/12

WNWO NBC Channel 24 with China Sellers 5/9/12

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In the pages of Vanity Fair, a dream come true

While I was in New York on behalf of the Camera-Ready Style Contest I had a photo shoot with a Vanity Fair photographer and an Estée Lauder makeup artist in Gallery Met. When I arrived at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 13, the Carolina Herrera show was about to begin in the theatre next door. My Mom was secretly taking pride in the surprise that we were actually on time. (I’m not “Fashionably Kate” for just the funny implication of the expression. I am always late, no matter how much I try.) Ben, who helped coordinate the contest for Vanity Fair, and Casey from The Met greeted me at the door. Both are young, ambitious and in love with the city – my kind of people. I met Colleen from Estée Lauder, whose 8 ½ months pregnant belly preceded her warm smile. As executive director of advertising, she helped create the contest along with Susan and Sarvi of Vanity Fair, who were unable to make it to the shoot.



The day I left New York, Susan and Colleen treated my Mom and I to breakfast overlooking the ice skating rink in the Rock Center Café at Rockefeller Center. We chatted about their background and lives in the city and the skaters on The Rink, including a woman dancing with a scarf and a brave boyfriend proving his love with one hand gripping the rink’s wall. The café reinforced why breakfast is my favorite meal of the day as the conversation grew more enticing. I listened closely to every word exchanged about the world of advertising in New York City, how Ben has proved himself as a go-getter and how they chose me as the winner of the contest. It was a tantalizing glimpse of a life I dream of and a bittersweet end to my trip.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

The Makeup

Back at the shoot, Colleen gestured to a black cube measuring over 2’x2’x2’ and said that it was my makeup kit that I won from Estée Lauder. I laughed and thought, “No, really where is my makeup?” If you know me, you know I love my makeup. But she wasn’t joking. The makeup company decided to give me the same kit that is sent with each Estée Lauder makeup artist when they’re working on location, such as a fashion show or photo shoot. It has 90 lipsticks. Ninety! I’ve been slowly trying and savoring each lip color, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara… Yes, I said I love my makeup!

The magnificent Estée Lauder kit 

Using this magnificent kit to doll me up for the shoot was Blair Patterson, Estée Lauder global premier makeup artist. As he expertly applied product to my face, we intermittently talked of our careers and love lives in between him bestowing absolute gems of advice regarding applying makeup and my apparent calling to move to The City. He was by far one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I met. He told me he thinks this is the universe telling me to move to New York. I’m convinced. During our brief email correspondence after my trip, he continued the encouragement: “Your passion and interest in this industry is all it takes to make it big, it’s all any of us had and more important all The Anna Wintours of the world have ever had too. Connections get you in the door, loving what you do keeps you in the room.” Sold.

We also talked of his celebrity clients including the spokeswomen of Estée Lauder (he adores Elizabeth Hurley), Oprah Winfrey and Paula Deen. One of his most favorite people to work with is the famous Southern cook, Paula Deen. He said he was responsible for waking her up in the morning and during those early hours she’d coax him into watching the morning news and dozing a bit longer in bed before getting in trouble with the production staff. “Exactly what you see is what you get,” Blair said of Ms. Deen, confirming her genuine yet sugary sweet manner.

Blair Patterson & I

The Photographer

In the meantime, Hannah Thomson, who does event photography for Vanity Fair, arrived and began snapping candid shots. Vanity Fair is known for hosting some of Hollywood’s most glamorous annual parties, including celebrations for the Academy Awards, Tribeca Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. At parties like these, and other A-list events, Ms. Thomson has taken photos of Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Tom and Gisele, Gwen and Gavin and Agyness Deyn, to name a few.

Casey, Ben & Hannah Thomson

After Blair finished applying the Estée Lauder makeup my Mom said my skin looked luminiscent, as if it was glowing. When I took a closer look in the mirror I exhaled my bated breath. It was subtly sexy and different than my usual but oh, so me. I loved it! Blair used teal and violet eye shadows that tinted my eyelids a smoky blue. My lips were a soft berry hue. My skin, flawless.

The Wardrobe

I changed into the ensemble that I agonized over for months: a sleek black jumpsuit from a consignment shop in Saint Petersburg, Florida, similar to the Yves Saint Laurent one cover model Gwenyth Paltrow wore in March’s Harper’s Bazaar. I paired the daring one-piece with my Manolo Blahnik “Godichefac” sandals that I got for a steal at Century 21 last September. Mr. Blahnik customized this same style in white for Kate Moss’ wedding last July. To complete the look I wore statement-making gold earrings from TopShop, which I had discovered two days before.

I had curled my hair myself. Thank goodness for a good hair day.

I was ready for my photo shoot with Vanity Fair. It felt like a dream but I concentrated on staying present, reveling in every moment. I felt beautiful and important.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2012 the photos from this shoot will be published in the June issue of Vanity Fair and online on Vanity Fair Agenda. I have the kind and inspiring people at Vanity Fair and Estée Lauder to thank for that. If you happen to grab a copy, flip to the “Agenda” pages to see a dream come true from a girl of Toledo, Ohio.

Saving the best for last

I want to thank my Mom for our trip and the entire experience.  I imagine that by the several references to her in my posts, it is apparent how important she is to me.  But I’d like to say that without her, this incredible experience would not have even happened.  She is the one who suggested I enter the contest.  She made our trip to New York City special, fun and memorable.  Because of her, the whole experience is one I will treasure for the rest of my life.  Thank you, Mom.

“Happiness is only real when shared.”

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City, Wedding

Fashion Week at the Hudson Hotel, New York, NY

“Urban adventure, daredevil design, and true affordability meet in Hudson, the ultimate lifestyle hotel for the 21st century. Located in midtown, just steps from Central Park, Columbus Circle and the theater district, Hudson is a brilliant reflection of the boldness and diversity of the city, while simultaneously representing the next generation of Cheap Chic – stylish, democratic, young at heart and utterly cool.”


My mother and I stayed at the Hudson Hotel  in New York City during fashion week in February, thanks to the Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair Camera-Ready Style Contest.  The discreet entrance at 356 West 58th Street understated the escalator illuminated in chartreuse just inside leading to the dramatic lobby.  Ivy climbed its forty-foot brick walls shading the blue glow of the ceiling from which hung a great crystal chandelier with images of colorful light bulbs.  The outdoor private park appeared inviting with oversized greenery and garden furniture but was unfortunately closed for winter.  Around the corner by the elevators was the famed ‘Semi-automatic” vending machine which dispenses sunglasses, bracelets, condoms and other accessories for a good time.

At night the lobby hosted good times enjoyed by small groups who overflowed from the Hudson Bar; library, aka bar at night; and hall, aka dining area/bar.  Essentially, in the evenings the whole floor turned into a swanky, dimly lit hangout for the young, or young at heart, who could endure the $18 glasses of wine.  Mom and I sat down there one night on a leather couch while I typed and enjoyed just one glass of wine and she read and glimpsed at the passersby.  She noted a person who seemed to be a man dressed as a woman, who she recognized the next day at Lincoln Center outside of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week wearing the exact same clothing.  He/she must have had a late night at the Hudson.

The fashionable continued to visit the Hudson throughout fashion week.  One day I saw Kellan Lutz, famous for portraying Emmett Cullen in the Twilight Saga, walk past me into my hotel.  After finagling our friendly doorman we discovered that he was there to attend the Loden Dager fashion show in the basement, called Good Units.  Another time there was a photo shoot going on in Hudson Bar.  Later I learned that the hotspot has been featured on such chic and shoepornographic shows as Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.

For my trip’s itinerary the hotel was in the perfect location.  Just a few blocks from the Ailey Studios, where the NOLCHA Fashion Week took stage and four from Lincoln Center and the Met, where I had the photo shoot with Vanity Fair.  It was also two blocks from Central Park and a very short subway ride to the newest Century 21 location, my favorite designer discount haven.

My stay there was pretty perfect too although it really didn’t matter where I stayed.  Just being in Manhattan is thrilling enough.  Being in Midtown was the cherry on top.  The Hudson’s website describes our double room as “A generous space perfect for double accommodation, this room offers the finest amenities and exotic accents that evoke the romance of transatlantic travel. Every detail reflects the brilliant vision of Philippe Starck, including his reinterpretation of a classic U.S. Navy ship chair, found only at the Hudson. Colorful bedside lamps hand-painted by renowned artist Francesco Clemente lend a mystical air.”  I agree.

But if I were being particular I would mention that I could not call out on the room phone, I couldn’t open the door the first few times every time I tried and I could not see very well in the rooms, especially at night.  I get that dim lighting works in the bar areas but not so much when you’re trying to apply makeup or pair clothing.  I read reviews that the rooms were small but we thought ours was adequate.  We didn’t spend much time in the room anyway.  However, I wondered how comfortable my 6’4″ boyfriend would be on the European-style mattresses.  I’d also like to note the fantastic mini bath products by Malin + Goetz, the Manhattan-based apothecary.  My mom loved them so much she asked room service (by cell phone) to bring more, then swiped even more off the housekeeping cart.  They smelled so fresh and clean.  I still carry the vitamin B5 body moisturizer in my purse and  I’m looking to reorder online for someone special’s birthday.  (No, not you, mom!  Just keep reading…)

Thankfully, the hotel is currently undergoing a major renovation, which would resolve all of my complaints.  New phones, mattresses, a smart card lock system, upgraded room lighting and illuminated mirrors will be available this fall.  I do hope to stay at the chic “cheap” hotel again.   I’d like to visit the bar and mingle with the New York socialites.  But I may refill my wine glass in my room.  Until then, New York…

Photos courtesy of myself and Hudson Hotel

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Filed under Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Fashion Week

Oscar Night: All dolled up in Toledo, Ohio

On Oscar night I attended a party hosted by the Norman and Louise Jones Foundation with my boyfriend and his parents.  As an admirer of movies, Hollywood and all things glamorous, I’m surprised to admit that this was my first Oscar Party.  I imagine myself as a hostess of an annual get together but I always find myself on the couch in my PJs.  One day…

But THIS year, I got all dolled up, thanks to Estée Lauder, and celebrated the night with champagne and hors d’ oeuvres.  Of the makeup that came in the massive Estée Lauder kit I received from the Camera-Ready Style contest presented by Vanity Fair I used the Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup foundation in 1 for above my cheekbone and 4 for below.  The lighter shade highlighted my cheekbones and evened out my skin, while the darker shade contoured my cheeks.  This tip, among others, was shared by Estée Lauder’s Premier Makeup Artist Blair Patterson during our time together for the Vanity Fair photo shoot.  Then I used Ideal Light Brush-on Illuminator to further disguise under-eye circles.  On my lips I brushed Pure Color lipstick in “Enticing Fuschia,” which I topped with Pure Color Shimmer gloss in “Garnet Desire.”

Here we are on the red carpet.  Forgive me for the poor pictures.  My camera is taking a hiatus.

Betty, Carlton, myself & Jim

Carlton & I

Dress, Forever 21; shoes Gianni Binni; necklace & bracelet, vintage

Clutch, MAC makeup case; bracelet & rings, vintage


Filed under Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, I'd like to thank... Award Show Fashion, Toledo, Vintage

My first big show at New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam’s fall 2012 collection

As part of the Camera-Ready Style Contest presented by Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair, I won two tickets to a New York fashion week show.  This is my experience attending the Derek Lam fall 2012 show.  If you’re just interested in the clothes, then la ti da, skip the witty details and run along to “The collection.”

The preparation

I found out in mid-January that I would be attending the Derek Lam show.  For more information about his style visit this previous post here.  I had no idea what to wear to this extraordinary and extraordinarily fashionable event.  I scavenged my closet, combed street style and personal style blogs, went shopping, searched on Pinterest, shopped some more, Googled, shopped again…  I was freaking out about what to wear.  One of the tips I stumbled upon when preparing for fashion week is to step it up several notches.  Ask yourself, “Would Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist take your picture?”  Ugh too much pressure!  Eventually I got my nerves under control and remembered how casual the people appeared outside of the shows in so many street style blogs.  I packed multiple options because I usually dress depending on how I feel and who knows how I would feel that day.  (I’ve noticed that I’ll often wear the same color for days in row because that’s the hue that matches my current mood.  Hey, I’m a Cancer, ruled by the moon, my moods are always changing!)  Anywho, the day of the show I was feeling the contrast of pretty white lace paired with harder black.  Lately, I’m drawn to girly pieces paired with edgier ones.

I chose a lace dress that I just got at… dare I tell you?  I was shocked to find such an adorable dress at Wet Seal for $15.  I paired it with a black blazer I acquired at a consignment shop in Chicago.  Then I added a black skinny belt, my favorite black booties and my new gold earrings from TopShop.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t overly dramatic.  But it was flattering, chic and me, at the moment.

The scene

Of course my mother came with me to the fashion show as she was my partner in fashion for the entire trip.  The black sedan was waiting for us when I rushed down the escalator at 11 a.m. on Sunday, February 12.  Thank you to Ben from Vanity Fair for arranging the car and coordinating the whole fabulous trip.  He was such a pleasure.  Later I heard he was a valuable asset to Condé Nast and wise beyond his years.  Someone I’ve recorded to pick his brain if I ever decide to move to the city.

We arrived at St. John’s Center on this particularly bitter and blustery day.  The event and studio space seemed to be off the beaten path as it faces the Hudson River.  But later we discovered we were in the West Village, just north of Soho, where we had wandered the day before.  The space was a large open room with benches on both sides and rectangular structures, some with mirrors, flanking a long straight path I assumed was the runway.  It was not elevated but on the same level as the first row of benches.  Our seats were at the very beginning of the runway, which began with a ramp.  I debated on sharing this because I didn’t want to further embarrass Mr. Lam, but I’m sure you’ll see the humor in it… The first model to grace the runway was actually a rat.  He scampered down the ramp and under the benches to my left, soliciting squeals and raised feet from the guests.  Mom and I thought it was hilarious.  Welcome to New York!


The people

We sat next to a lady from Denmark who is in the fur business.  She travels to every major fashion week in the world each season.  She was sweet and I imagine just overflowing with interesting information only available to insiders.  As we were waiting for the show to begin, she pointed out John Wilder, a very important decision maker in the world of fashion buying, sitting two rows ahead of us.  We also spotted Anna Wintour walking up the runway, probably to greet Derek Lam backstage.  It’s hard to miss the trademark bob and large sunglasses of the iconic editor in chief of Vogue.

Also in attendance were Rachel Zoe, Miroslava Duma, Sofia Sanchez and Garance Doré.  Zoe is a celebrity stylist who has her own reality TV show called The Rachel Zoe Project, published a style book called style A to Zoe: The art of Fashion, Beauty and Everything Glamour and recently debuted her own line of apparel, shoes and handbags.  She is credited for creating the boho chic look with friend, Nicole Richie.  Duma is a former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Russia and currently a freelance writer.  She’s internationally renowned for her fashion sense and a fixture at fashion weeks all over the world.  Sanchez is a model turned art director turned entrepreneur known for her unique style influenced by her homeland of Argentina.  Doré publishes a blog of photos of street style fashion and other musings.  She is also the girlfriend of The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman.  I can only imagine how beautiful their family photo album will be…

The show was delayed reportedly because Susy Menkes, the respected International Herald Tribune fashion writer, was running late.  After she arrived the show began with violin music, followed by a thumping bass line and an unfamiliar melody.

Anna Wintour walking backstage

Anna Wintour - Photo courtesy of Getty

Rachel Zoe - Photo courtesy of Getty

Miroslava Duma - Photo courtesy of Getty

Sofia Sanchez - Photo courtesy of Getty


The collection

Placed at every seat was a bookmark that read “The Library,” suggesting the theme for Derek Lam’s fall 2012 collection.  The first look was a grey doubleface wool pullover, black lambskin skirt with Persian floral embroidery and grey leather ankle boots with a black tip and gold stripe.  Later I learned that the pretty floral print was inspired by the frontispiece of an old book Lam discovered.  But as puts it “you’d hardly call his Fall girl bookish.”

This hip collegian channeled the sixties with a bouffant hairstyle and smoky cat eye makeup.  Tom Pecheux of Estée Lauder created the look to emphasize heavy lashes with Sumptuous Two Tone Eye-Opening Mascara in Bold Black/Rich Brown.  Read more about backstage here.  The mod decade appeared in full skirts, oxford shoes and blouses, my favorite being the silk georgette necktie blouse.  The pretty yet sporty style also included floral silk outerwear, paisley jacquard layered over floral embroidered collared shirts, trousers and cozy sweaters.

To give a little modern edge, Lam kicked it up a notch with gold, leather and sequins, in particular gold shoes, a black lambskin pencil skirt, wine lambskin pants and sequined tweed that glittered shyly under the lights.  Here, I’d like to note that the leather turtlenecks peeking from tops and dresses were laser cut with delicate patterns and scalloped edges.  This beautiful detail was easily missed from my seat and I didn’t want you to miss it as well.  As for the accessories I fancied the silver ID necklaces, the “Alfie” platform pumps with an ankle strap and the white nubuck “Emmett” oxford.  I actually just picked up a clunky silver ID bracelet from an antique shop in Florida and I’ve been wearing it faithfully since I saw this show.

My new ID bracelet, in need of engraving

It has to be improper to not mention the outerwear when reviewing a Derek Lam show as it’s one of the things he does so well and he offers so many choices.  There were ladylike ivory satin floral coats.  I can imagine wearing the shorter jacket with skinny jeans and great pumps on a Saturday night.  There were also a white wool drill peacoat, black and white tweed jacquard coat and fur stoles that stood out in luxury.

Toward the end of the show were three long skirts of silk georgette that were light, flowy and oh so feminine.  The last two were unexpectedly paired with chunky handknit nylon tulle sweaters.  They created a lovely and cozy end to a comforting collection.

Noteworthy trends from Lam’s collection that are sure to be rampant this fall are leather: wine or black pants, pencil skirts, dresses and trim; fur; T-strap heels from the twenties; chunky sweaters; flowing long skirts; shades of white and ivory and menswear in coats and trousers.

As I analyzed the pieces of Lam’s collection, noticed the details and textures, I liked it more and more.  Most everyone is drawn to red carpet gowns and out on the town ensembles.  But now I have a deeper appreciation for Lam’s ability to interpret his current inspiration (a book and a coed from the sixties) into covetable pieces of luxurious fabrics and spectacular tailoring.

Photos courtesy of myself, Monica Feudi/ and Gianni Pucci/

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Filed under Derek Lam, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, Fashion, New York City, New York Fashion Week

So this morning I had a shoot with Vanity Fair…

and now I’m off to the Soham Dave fashion show.  Here’s a sneak peek from the shoot in the Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera House:

Getting all dolled up by Blair Patterson

I am indebted to the people I met today from Vanity Fair, Estée Lauder and The Met.  They were so kind and I could’ve listened to them talk of their lives in New York all day.  I will never forget it.  Stay tuned for more details!

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