Photographer Ashley Woodson Bailey

Ashley Woodson Bailey Besottedblog.com

I came to the attention of Iphonegrapher and dilettante extraordinaire one Ashley Woodson Bailey via my partner in crime Michelle P., whom happened to hear about her via my very fave Ginny Branch (if you don’t know Ginny you need to get to know her stat). Of course I was bowled over by Ashley’s beautiful imagery all captured on her Iphone, blown up to inconceivable sizes and just in your face statement pieces. My mouth was a little agape as I went through image after image and wished I had the foresight to have done something so incredible as Ms. Woodson Bailey, but alas I have still not found my photography ‘niche’, one day…But the photo’s aside, they are impressive and all but nothing and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for her inspired (and sometimes tragic) back story, how she got to this fantastic place in her career and life.  [Read more...]

Emergency Maple Vinaigrette

vinaigrette_BesottedBrand

Salads are on the menu most days around here, especially in the summer when produce is fresh and crisp. We save time and escape firing up the oven on hot summer evenings by grilling up a bunch of lean protein at the beginning of the week, then whipping up a hearty salad each night for a healthy dinner that’s ready in less than 15 minutes.

The other day, we ran out of our favorite dressing (Trader Joe’s Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette), so it was time to whip up a quick vinaigrette with existing pantry items. I wanted something a little more interesting than just oil and vinegar, so I reached for the maple syrup and to my surprise, it was delicious! The result was a light and tangy dressing, with just a hint of maple sweetness. Even my fairly picky foodie husband gave it the thumbs up, so with that vote of confidence, I thought I’d share the recipe with you in case you have a salad dressing emergency of your own.

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Easy + Flawless Mineral Makeup

Easy + Flawless Mineral Make-up via Besotted Blog

I have loved the idea of mineral makeup for a long time, even more so now with baby, I want to make sure what I put on my face doesn’t come off on hers and is safe for both of us. I have tried so many brands and been very Goldilocks about them-too this, too that, not enough of  ‘x’. I keep coming back to Laura Mercier’s mineral foundation. It’s finely milled and is very, very natural looking, it’s lighter than most so you can layer to achieve the perfect amount of coverage. I have found that the best mineral makeup in the world just won’t look great if you don’t have the right brush to apply it with. The Kabuki brush is the preferred mineral make-up brush, but I find them unwieldy to use and I like more control with my products. I am happy to have discovered that Sephora has the best mineral foundation brush I have used so far, it’s very good quality (no loose brush strands ever), very soft and leaves a flawless finish. Another brush that I have used that has rave reviews is this one, it’s super soft but honestly it didn’t work as well for me, but it’s worth mentioning because a lot of people love it and it’s good quality for the price.

I have dry skin so mineral makeup has been tricky at best for me. I found it near impossible to create the perfect combo to not end up with makeup that looked dry and cracked (not a pretty look). You can’t really apply mineral makeup right after moisturizing with traditional lotion type moisturizers because it just doesn’t work, a streaky mess! A saw once that people were mixing mineral foundation with balms and then applying, again a fail for me. The two things that have worked were surprising. The first is coconut oil (when it’s solid) I did this in the winter, a little goes a long way, I just applied to my face let it sit for a little bit (while I brushed my hair or teeth) and then applied the mineral make-up, it looked so smooth and natural and no streaking! I found I would have to set with a mineral veil because if I didn’t my mascara would raccoon on me, but it’s a small extra step, well worth it.

This summer I discovered the coconut oil does not work as well in the heat. I found a great alternative and it would also make a great substitute to a silicone based primer (sidenote: Laura Mercier also makes my favorite commercial primer), the product is called Butter by indie company Ellovi. I think the name is misleading, it is definitely less a butter (which I think of as fluffy) and more of a balm. An amazing balm that is smooth and fresh and not waxy at all (like balms can be). It’s an all around great product to have in your cosmetic arsenal because it has multiple uses (I use it as the best lip balm/conditioner around). I apply the Ellovi the same way I did the coconut oil, a very little goes a long way, let it ‘set’ and then apply my mineral foundation. It’s not as perfect as the coconut oil on me, but it works very well and is super easy. I am all about the easy right now.

Do you have any tricks for using mineral make-up? Have you tried the Laura Mercier brand?  I am admittedly a huge fan of the line in general. Let me know if you have any questions!

P.S. With this method I can even use my favorite sheer Tarte cheek stains without it looking like it’s sitting on top of my makeup!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they just welcomed to the world a baby girl. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Stephanie Fishwick Interview Part II

Stephanie Fishwick Interview Part II via Besotted Blog

Thank you everyone to the positive feedback on Stephanie’s part I interview, so happy to hear that you love her as much as we do!  Stephanie did not hold back and I think you will find a ton of supplies + resources to look into after this interview. Also, a Happy Birthday to Stephanie is in order!  Thank you Stephanie so much for making this such an amazing interview!

//STEPHANIE FISHWISCK INTERVIEW PART II//

What are some of your favorite supplies?

My favorite things now are my ruling pens and folded pen. I’m also loving a folded pen I made from a coke can. When doing pointed pen work, my favorite every-day supplies are the hourglass adjustable oblique pen holder with a Nikko G nib. The Tachikawa T-36 is my favorite straight holder. For brush lettering I use the Cotman 222 series brushes by Windsor & Newton, Rekab No. 314 Kolinsky Sable Brushes and various synthetic brushes with tiny tips. I love my bamboo brush. I use carbon-based black ink, pigmented ink for a luminous or crystalline look, and acrylic ink for color. Higgins Eternal is my favorite carbon-based ink. It’s great and very affordable and I go through black ink fast. I also love Moon Palace sumi ink. For acrylic work I am a big fan of Dr. Ph. Martins series. (Acrylic inks require more cleaning and attention to the nib, but I prefer them to gouache). I use a lot of watercolor in my work, as well. Favorite papers: hot press and cold press watercolor papers. For large final pieces I use 110 lb – 300 lb mould-made, pH neutral, papers that are 100% cotton. Some favorite brands are Fabriano, Aquarelle, Ingres and Arches. For things I will scan, as opposed to an original art piece, I like Canson Market Pro Layout or even 100% cotton resume paper that I find at an office supply store. The lower-end pads of Canson and Strathmore, cold-press 140lb paper for example, are great for my drafts or quick work.

Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?

My process is hard to describe. I had to ask my husband about his observations before I could put this into words! I write down ideas in lists a lot and mull things over in my head for a bit before drawing it out. I may spend two days thinking about an idea and then I’ll put it to paper in lots of different versions. Other times I’ll just want to do calligraphy without any goal in mind and come up with something I love. Many days I will sketch or write like 30 pages worth of quotes or words before I come up with the final piece that I like…or nothing good at all. Sometimes after writing a word 50 times I realize one of the first ones was my favorite. For client work I am way more scheduled and organized.

Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?

I would encourage newbies to learn Copperplate from a teacher who has mastered the form. Acquire the best materials, and set up a designated calligraphy work space for yourself. Everyone’s hand is different, so literally going with your flow will produce unique results. I think that any new styles work best when the architecture of the letters come from traditional copperplate.

Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual by Eleanor Winters, Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style by Herb Kaufman, Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters, Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age by Steven Heller and Louise Fili, Zanerian.com: Dr. Joe Vitolo’s site chock full of tutorials, lessons, guides, you-name-it, he’s got it covered., IAMPETH: The go-to for all-things pointed pen, and classes in your area. Check out your local guild for information on local classes. A Place to Flourish has a nice round-up of US Guilds.

Do you have some favorite projects you would like me to mention?

I create these little crests and wedding monograms and I recently launched a way for anyone to create their own custom piece on my site.

I’m working on a book cover right now that I’m really excited about. Last month I calligraphed tattoos for a couple celebrating their anniversary, which was just too cool.

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Don’t doubt yourself as a lettering artist. I find it difficult to do that in the face of the internet, and basic human nature for comparison. I would say don’t get complacent in your study of fine art, its history, and your personal inspirations as you create your own style. This is something I am constantly working at.

Name one random talent you have that people may not know?

For a long time I was big into making artist books! I don’t make them anymore, but it fits well with calligraphy so maybe I will bring that back someday!

 

Stephanie Fishwick Interview Part I

stephaniefw_besottedinterview

This interview has been a long time coming and I have unfortunately (and unfairly) been sitting on it for way too long. How could I?  I will blame it on sleep deprivation, I hope both you and the talented Stephanie Fishwick will take that as a legitimate excuse and forgive me the long wait. I must preface this interview by saying that Stephanie’s work is a Besotted fave, we are uber fans, so much so that we tapped Stephanie to work on illustrations for our top secret project, that hopefully will not take as long to launch as this here interview.

If you are not familiar with her work I think you will be pleasantly surprised to discover such an amazingly, fresh, talented original artist. Stephanie’s interview is as thorough and detailed as her work, I think as a fellow lettering enthusiasts you will love it. So without further ado…

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