What can you say about someone who takes their personal tragedy and turns it into a way to help others? Someone who deals with their own grief by finding a way to ease the road for those that are dealt a similar, devastating hand? We think you could say she is fiercely loving. Or maybe bravely compassionate. Definitely Naturally Gorgeous!
This month’s Naturally Gorgeous model is Regina Ellis, founder and CEO of Children’s Cancer Association (CCA). CCA was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1995, by the Ellis family after their daughter Alexandra died from cancer. As the only organization of its kind in the nation, CCA helps inspire kids to meet the challenge of facing a life threatening illness by providing JoyRx delivered through non-medical programs of chemo pal mentors, bedside music medicine, tailored support and resources. CCA's innovative brand attracts powerful, strategic partners and global leaders such as Apple iTunes, Converse, Genentech, Blazers, Gatorade, Nike, Fader, Atlantic Records, Anomaly and others who support CCA's initiatives helping thousands of kids- transform a moment and have a better day.
AP: How do you describe what you do for a living?
RE: I deliver joy.
AP: What do you want to tell us about the journey that brought you to your current position?
RE: Life, my children, family, my daughter’s courage and joy in life facing cancer and then death at 5 years old; hope, laughter and passion to leave the world a little better than I found it. Oh, and my type A personality.
AP: Do you have kids or pets?
RE: Alexandra, my oldest, died of cancer in 1995. Zach is 20, Kate is 16. Max is our 1-year-old Golden Retriever.
AP: Anything you really want to tell people about yourself?
RE: I don’t take myself too seriously. Most people don’t know that I have a secret crush on …rap and hip-hop music!
AP: What do you really care about?
RE: Family dinner and laughter.
AP: How do you define beauty?
RE: The width of your smile.
AP: What makes you feel beautiful?
RE: My reflection in my children’s eyes. And always being around my momma.
AP: What is always in your handbag?
RE: Alima Pure lip balm in Cranberry.
AP: What movie have you seen lately that you really enjoyed?
RE: I watched “Queen to Play” on Netflix last weekend. My all-time favorites are “Life is Beautiful” and “Chocolat.”
AP: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
RE: My daughter Alexandra, who died in 1995, Mary Oliver; Van Morrison, Oscar Pistorius, Juliette Binoche, Mario Batali, Bobbi Brown, Ghandi, Morgan Freeman, Bob Marley, Kelley Corrigan, Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, Roberto Benigni, Stevie Wonder, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller and my crazy, Italian family!
AP: If you were given an all-expense-paid, weeklong vacation that you had to take next week, where in the world would you go and what would you do?
RE: Florence and Lucca, Italy. I go every chance I get, to walk the cobblestone streets, hear the church bells, go to the Mercato to get dinner, and breathe in the simplicity and music of life.
We applied Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 5 with our #25 Foundation Brush, and added a tiny bit under her eyes with the #3 Concealer Brush. We highlighted Regina’s cheeks with Satin Matte Blush in Antique Rose on our #17 Blush Brush.
We swept Luminous Shimmer Eye Shadow in Chai over Regina’s entire eye area with the #37 Eye Blending Brush. From the lashes to the crease, we used Pearluster Eye Shadow in Grace to bring out her eye color. We lined her upper lash line with Satin Matte Eye Liner in Onyx on a damp #33 Angle Liner Brush, and used a bit of Onyx to fill in the brows. We finished the entire look with Organic Nourishing Lip Balm in Cranberry.
Are you a younger sibling, or do you have a younger sibling who feels that they have grown up in the shadow of an older sibling, constantly compared and never quite measuring up? Then surely you can sympathize with our #15 Flat-Top Foundation Brush.
No doubt about it, the #25 Foundation Brush is a tool to be reckoned with. As Alima Pure's first foundation brush, it gives the most natural-looking mineral foundation application we've ever seen, and does it without leaving behind a trace of irritation. But little sister (the #15) has her own set of skills and talents, and it's time she was recognized for them!
The bristles of the #15 brush are densely packed and cropped completely flat across the top, so the texture of the brush is not unlike that of our flocked sponge. Like the flocked sponge, the #15 is perfect for delivering a heavier application of foundation. The #15 picks up and holds more product than the flocked sponge, making it faster and less messy to achieve that flawless, full-coverage finish. And with the smaller, compact bristles, the #15 makes it easy to get that full coverage around the eyes and nose.
But #15's talents aren't limited to foundation application. For those bothered by rosacea, the #15 is an angel, delivering the green-tinted Pistachio Color Balancing Powder with enough coverage to take down serious red. And, because the bristles are man-made and super gentle, they won't increase redness by irritating skin.
To use the #15 Flat-Top Foundation Brush, pick up some product on the bristles, and tap or swirl the brush to work the product into the bristles. Then gently stroke the foundation (or Color Balancing Powder) on with downward or circular strokes.
Did you stock up on foundation during our recent Foundation Sale? If so, you need a perfect new brush to apply it! Consider investing in the #15 Flat-Top Foundation Brush until Tuesday, February 21, while it is specially priced at only $12.
If you live in Portland and listen to 97.1 Charlie FM in the mornings, you probably already feel like you know our latest Naturally Gorgeous Model Nicolle Camarata, as she is the host of "Mornings with Nicolle Camarata from 6-9am." That’s one of the beautiful things about Nicolle… her bubbly personality (which we think comes across on the radio and in a photo almost as well as it does in person) makes everyone feel like a BFF.
AP: What is your favorite part of your job?
NC: Making new friends! People come up to me all the time and say how something I did made them laugh, or gave them good advice, and you feel like you just made a new friend. Mornings have always been my favorite day-part because you have a chance to cheer people on at the start of their day.
AP: We also know you have another job, and that it is related to something you care very much about. Would you like to explain that?
NC: I am the director of Nicolle Shops Portland, a popular shopping website that promotes Portland and encourages people to buy locally. I really care about this city—its economic growth, its advancements in green technology, its national appeal for tourism, and all of the people and places that make it so special. I started Nicolle Shops Portland ten years ago to promote the Rose City and it is still exciting to cover my first true love, Portland, Oregon. I have been all over the world and I can honestly say that this is heaven on earth to me.
AP: Do you have children or pets?
NC: Oh yes! We have a busy household full of fun and laughter. I got married last summer and now in addition to my daughter Kaden, I have my husband Cory and his two kids, Justice and Lanie; two energetic dogs, Mojo and Rosie (named after the Rose City); and Lola and Billy Idol, our two cats. Our house is a constant whirlwind of activity!
AP: What do you do for fun?
NC: Playing by the water is my idea of fun. It is so soothing and I’m not even picky--rivers, lakes or beaches; boating, sun-bathing or swimming...if it's in the sun, I’m having fun. We moved over the holidays and are now two miles from the shore line and I am really excited about this summer!
AP: What inspires you?
NC: I’m inspired by possibility, the ever-evolving nature and limitlessness of our potential.
AP: What scares you?
NC: That something will happen to our precious children. Their safety and well-being is our top priority but as any parent knows, only in our control to a degree. Being a protective parent of kids who are getting older is always scary!
AP: How do you define beauty?
NC: Beauty comes from the inside and makes you shine on the outside. It’s a glimpse of someone’s genuine and loving spirit combined with their strong sense of self and purpose that makes them beautiful.
AP: What’s always in your handbag?
NC: My camera! I use it daily to remember and record what is important to me. Just yesterday I took pictures of my children all eating ice cream out of the carton, the dogs snuggling in front of the fire, and several store fronts and shop owners on NW 23rd for work.
AP: What surprises people about you?
NC: I’m not sure. Most of my life has been an open book since I grew up here and I’ve been doing radio and television for so long. People usually feel like they know me way before we’ve even met. But, I think it surprises some people that I like to sew, scrapbook, garden and bake. I am going to be really good at being a little old lady!
AP: What book have you read lately that you really enjoyed?
NC: I got The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm for Christmas, and have really enjoyed reading it. It is written by James Napoli, the executive vice president of the National Sarcasm Society) and he has a ridiculously unapologetic sense of humor that is hysterical.
AP: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? (Living or deceased, from different eras—no rules!)
NC: I would invite my dad, Babe Camarata. He passed away suddenly when my mom was pregnant with me and naturally I would like to meet him. It broke my mom’s heart and she never remarried. She was going to name me after him, but she jokes that I was too ugly of a newborn to be named Babe! But I kept my maiden name to honor his memory and I inherited his eyebrows.
AP: Is there anything else you want people to know about you?
NC: Don’t let the small stature and big smile fool you. I am older and smarter than I look!
One of Nicolle’s favorite Alima Pure products is our Pistachio Color Balancing Powder. We applied some Pistachio with a #15 brush to her cheeks and nose area to tone down a little redness. Then we applied her Warm 2 Satin Matte Foundation with a #25 Foundation Brush and added a bit of Mimosa Satin Matte Blush to the apples of her cheeks with a #17 brush. Because Nicolle was wearing a turtleneck for some of the shoot, we contoured along her jaw-line with a bit of Mauna Loa Bronzer and the #17 brush.
On her eyes, we applied Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow in Venus with a slightly damp #37 brush from her lashes to her brows. Her crease was contoured with Satin Matte Eyeshadow in Raven on a #36 Crease brush. We swirled a little more Raven at the outer corner of the eye for a little added drama. Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner in Paparazzi was applied along the upper lash line with a damp #33 brush. To finish the look, we slipped on a bit of Organic Nourishing Lipbalm in Sugar Plum!
To get Nicolle's complete look or to shop Alima Pure collections, click here.
January and February--the time of year when most of us (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) are at our palest and looking in the mirror can be a bit of a shock. To brighten up your look and give your cheeks that rosy, just-in-from-the-cold look, consider using a more intense blush shade.
If you are fair and currently lean towards shades like Apple Blossom and Lotus, consider bumping up your pink to Satin Matte Blush in Raspberry, or Luminous Shimmer Blush in Leigh. If Mimosa and Freja are more to your liking, you might enjoy Satin Matte Blush in Carnation.
If your skin is light, but not fair, and your favorite blushes are already shades like Pink, Raspberry or Leigh, you might want to try slightly more intense Satin Matte Blush in Antique Rose or Luminous Shimmer Blush in Cerise. If you prefer warmer shades like Bisque or Carnation, try Satin Matte Blush in Honey Rose.
For medium skinned beauties who like blush shades line Antique Rose or Desert Rose, a more intense shade would be Satin Matte Blush in Azalea. If you already prefer Melon or Honey Rose, step up to the brighter tones of Satin Matte Apricot.
And if you have a deep skin tone and appreciate shades like Bordeaux or Soft Plum, consider making the jump to Satin Matte Geranium or Luminous Shimmer Garnet. If warm tones like Apricot and Nutmeg already look great on you, be bold with Satin Matte Ginger or Luminous Shimmer Sospiro.
Just adding a touch more color to your cheeks can make all the difference, but to help avoid going overboard, consider applying the more intense blush with the #23 Kitten Brush. This duo-fiber brush will give a lighter, more sheer application, but blend it like a pro. The combination of the brighter blush and the expert blending will keep you looking fresh and healthy through the winter doldrums!
Designed for concealing larger areas (rather than tiny blemishes), the Alima Pure #3 Concealer brush is shaped much like a brush that you would use to apply liquid foundation, but it is about 1/2 the size of those brushes. This style of brush distributes a heavier layer of foundation than our #25 Foundation Brush, so if you just need extra coverage, you can use your regular foundation with this brush. It also works with our Concealer if you need very opaque coverage.
The tapered bristles and compact size make this brush perfect for the areas where we generally need a little more help; the inner corners of the eyes, under eyes, around the nose and the edges of the lips. Just a dip in the foundation jar and the difference in coverage in these areas can be amazing!
If you wear the Color Balancing Powder, particularly in Pistachio, the #3 Brush can also give a more opaque layer of this to tone down redness under your foundation. And if you like to wear foundation or just a matte base shadow on your lids before you do your eyes, the brush is perfect for eyes as well. Once you own it, you'll wonder how you got along without this multi-tasking tool!
The #3 Concealer Brush is specially priced until January 16 at only $10, marked down from the regular price of $16. If you haven't yet invested in this handy brush, you will definitely want to take advantage of this special price!
If you are a fan of Oregon Ballet Theatre (and who isn’t?), Candace may look familiar to you. After starting as an apprentice with OBT in 2003, Candace joined the company in 2004 and has been a soloist since 2008. Her grace and passion are two of the qualities that make her Naturally Gorgeous, but her slightly mischievous dimples and long legs certainly don’t hurt!
AP: How did you decide to become a dancer?
CB: I always knew from the time I was very small, that I wanted to dance. Once I knew that this could be a profession, I was all in. Something in me needs to tell the world something, and dancing seems like the best way for me to accomplish that.
AP: What do you like to do for fun?
CB: I love reading, and spending time alone in the incredible forests of the Northwest. I also have a real affection for just being out with good food, good drinks and good conversation. Apparently I’m the instigator of many a too-late weeknight bar crawl with my friends. I didn’t think I was so boisterous, but they keep blaming me, so I guess it’s true!
AP: What is always in your handbag?
CB: A book! It’s my security blanket.
AP: What inspires you?
CB: Expansive nature, unexpected moments, reminders of that which is greater than myself.
AP: What scares you?
CB: People that think they have everything figured out. Losing connection with a sense of community in our culture.
AP: How do you define beauty?
CB: Fullness of life…crafting a positive being out of whatever combination of “good” and “bad” we’ve experienced.
AP: What makes you feel beautiful?
CB: Connecting deeply with another person. Sharing all the wonder I feel for the world around me.
AP: What surprises people about you?
CB: That I think of myself as shy. I guess I’m not, anymore, but I always imagine that it will creep back in when I least expect it, and I won’t be able to force a word out of my mouth when I’m meeting someone fascinating and new, or speaking in front of a group.
AP: Is there anything that you would really like to tell people about yourself, or something that you really care about that you’d like to share?
CB: I think those have the same answer. I have this side project called Uprising. The goal is to bring dance together with other forms of art so we can inspire each other, and then to bring that work to people in unconventional spaces. We’ve done shows with Horse Feathers, Weinland and Laura Gibson; created our own costumes and worn designs made for us by Emily Katz; and performed at Mississippi Studios, Wonder Ballroom and the Aladdin Theatre, plus some benefit shows for local non-profits here and there. I’m pretty excited about it! I wish we had a show coming up that I could plug here!
(AP note: When Uprising has a show coming up, we will definitely let everyone know!)
AP: What roles do you have coming up at OBT?
CB: We have just finished The Nutcracker and A Holiday Revue. The next ballet we’re working on is Giselle, which opens in February, but I don’t know for sure what my roles will be yet.
We started with a bit of Color Balancing Powder in Pistachio on Candace’s cheeks and then applied her Beige 3 Satin Matte Foundation with the #25 Foundation Brush. We added a touch more foundation with the #3 Concealer Brush around her eyes and nose. Then we applied Satin Matte Blush in Raspberry to the apples of her cheeks with the #17 Blush Brush.
To enhance the green in Candace’s eyes, we used Nymph Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow with a #37 brush from her lashes to brows. Then we added Grace Pearluster Eyeshadow to her crease and outer corner with the #36 brush. A damp #33 brush was used to apply Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner in Carnevale, and a dry #33 brush filled in her brows with a touch of Raven Satin Matte Shadow. As a finishing touch, we slicked on some Organic Nourishing Lipbalm in Rhubarb.
Maybe it isn't quite worthy of making a resolution, but the beginning of the year is a great time to think about how you clean and care for your makeup brushes. Start now with a good cleaning program, and with luck it will become a great new habit that will give your brushes a longer life span and boost the purity of the colors you apply.
The most common question about cleaning brushes is "how often?" That will depend a bit on what you're using them for and how many different shades you use. Most people use their foundation brush for only one shade, so that one is easiest, let's start there.
Foundation Brush - our #25 and #15 foundation brushes are made of taklon fiber, and when perfectly clean and dry, they are impossibly soft. As oils and foundation build up in the brush, it loses that wonderful pampering feel, so that is usually all the indication that I need that it's time to give the brush a good bath. Just an estimate, I probably wash my personal foundation brush every two to three weeks. I like to use a gentle bar soap for this one, so that the ferrule and handle stay as dry as possible, but you can also use a mild liquid soap in the palm of your hand. First, get the brush wet. Then either swirl the bristles on the bar soap or in the liquid soap in the palm of your hand. (Once you have gotten the bristles soapy on the bar soap, move to the palm of your hand.) Swirl the bristles until the foam coming out seems mostly clear. Then rinse. I usually hold the brush right in the stream from the faucet and rotate it, while combing through the bristles with my fingers. When the water seems to be running clear, squeeze the bristles gently in your hand. If a bit of white soap residue comes from the center of the brush, resume the rinsing. If foundation-colored residue comes out, return to the soap and repeat the sudsing. Because these two brushes have very dense bristles, it is common to need to soap up the bristles twice, or even three times. It is very important to get everything out of your brush. If you don't, it might feel (once it is dry) as if the center of the brush, near the base of the bristles has developed a hard area, and lost it's ability to be fluffy. This is just because residue is binding those center bristles together, and it needs to be rewashed and rinsed well. Once the bristles give up only clear water when squeezed, continue to squeeze until you can't get any more water out. Then squeeze them again with a towel over your hand. (If your brush is new, use an old one, the bristles can sometimes bleed a bit of black for the first few washings.) When you have squeezed as much as possible from the brushes, lay them to dry with the bristles extending over the edge of a countertop. My window-sill works perfectly for this! If you wash your brush immediately after you apply your foundation in the morning, it should be dry and ready to go the next morning. It is especially helpful if you fluff the bristles once or twice during the drying process.
Blush, Kitten and Buff Brushes - these three brushes are a bit easier to wash than the foundation brushes because the bristles are not as densely packed. The fluffier nature of them speeds up the lathering and rinsing process. I usually wash the three of them together, in nearly the same fashion as the foundation brushes...lather all three, then rinse all three, then squeeze and dry all three. If you change your blush color often, you might want to wash your blush brush more often, but you can also use an old hand-towel to do a quick intermediate cleanse between colors. To do this, either lightly dampen an area of the towel (a microfiber cloth also works nicely) and swirl the bristles on the damp area. Then swirl them on a dry area until the bristles feel dry. This will allow you to change colors without muddying the shades. If you use the same blush color most of the time, you can probably get away with cleaning your brush somewhere between every two and four weeks.
Eyeshadow Brushes - much like the Blush Brush, these brushes do well with a quick towel-cleanse if you change colors a lot. But because they also dry quickly, if you are making dramatic color changes, it is just as easy to wash them quickly after using a particularly vivid shade. To do a quick wash, I usually squirt a bit of handsoap in my palm and do a mini-version of the foundation brush cleanse. Because they dry so quickly, there should be no problem with them being ready to go the next morning. If you wear mostly the same types of shades, you can probably go two or three weeks between washes for shadow brushes. If you have more than two or three, I find it easiest to take a glass and pour a little liquid soap in, then add some warm water. (1 to 2" depth is plenty.) Take each brush and dip, swirl and pump until it seems clean. Put it aside, and when all brushes have been washed, rinse them one at a time, then squeeze to dry.
Eyeliner Brushes - in my bathroom, this brush is washed nearly every day. I generally apply my eyeliner with a damp brush, and if I don't clean it between, the bristles are hard and caked with color the next day--not an ideal way to start a beautiful liner look! Once I apply my eyeliner in the morning, I just rinse it off, swirl it on the bar of handsoap or in a touch of my facial cleanser in my palm. A quick rinse and pinch of the brushes between a towel, and it's pretty much ready to go again, even later the same day.
A word of caution on your brushes...never apply heat to them to speed the drying process. The taklon doesn't do well with heat, and using a hair-dryer will almost certainly ruin your brushes.