The Real Girl


Makeup and Image Seminar on Marthas Vineyard

Danielle Bisbano - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

“Come to Martha’s Vineyard to talk makeup,” they said. “It will be fun!” they said.


Well, yeah!  Of course it was! How could it NOT be? Talking makeup and image to a group of female business owners, like myself? What’s not to love? 

This event was the maiden voyage for the speaker series entitled Sustainable Marketing for the Small Business in the Modern Advertising Space. This is an educational initiative started by Tamar Russell Brown of Sitka Creations and The Martha’s Vineyard Guide to promote, educate and inspire Martha’s Vineyard business owners on various relevant topics including marketing, design, networking and our portion, which addressed personal presentation. I was invited to present this part of the series with another speaker, Susan Norton.


Susan is a psychotherapist on the Island and she also created and markets her own skin care line called Sashabelle

Susan started us off by sharing her own story of how she came to the decision to create her own skin care products. As she became more educated about the many dangerous chemicals in the products she had been using, she felt inspired to create something she could feel good about putting on her skin. She spoke of an inner voice that was impelling her to pursue this path and how we need to pay attention to our own inner voice when we are being nudged towards change. It is always a treat to meet women who care about safe skin care as I do, especially when they are doing their part to make a change.

For my portion of the event I wanted to focus on the psychology of appearance; how the way you look affects how you feel, how the way you feel, in turn, affects how others perceive you and how a few simple changes using just a few products can make a big difference. Doing research for my presentation was fascinating. There is seemingly endless data regarding the effects of color, makeup, clothing and grooming in regards to the impressions one makes as a job candidate to a potential employer or as a business owner to a potential customer.  In any and every aspect of life, actually.

After Susan and I finished our speaking portions it was time for a makeup demonstration. We drew a name from the list of attendees to be our model. The lovely Nicole Friedler, a professional photographer from the Island, was chosen and I was able to show the ladies an easy, five-minute makeup application using just four products. This is a routine that everybody has time for and can really make a big difference in helping you look polished and professional. Here is what I used:

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation 

Beautycounter Every Day A. M. Hydrating Cream

Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Plum

Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara 

Jordana Fabubrow Eyebrow Pencil 


These are the core items you need for a simple look. I mixed the foundation with the day cream to make it even more hydrating and natural and buffed it into the skin with a foundation brush. You could use your fingers or a makeup sponge (I recommend the Beauty Blender). Then I used the amazing Plum Lip Sheer as a blush and lipstick. The color may seem really dark when you look at it, but the texture of these products is fantastic. They are sheer and buildable. So you can literally just swipe the tube on your cheeks and blend, add more as you want to intensify the color. Technically they are a lip product but they are the best cream blushes I have ever used. After you apply it as a blush, just sweep it over your lips.  Again, this product is buildable. Use just one layer for a soft wash of color or go over it again to make it deeper. They feel like heaven and smell like vanilla. As a side note, every shade can be used on the cheeks as well as the lips. Plum just happens to be a favorite of mine. 

I then lightly filled in Nicole’s brows with a brow pencil. My staple brow pencil happens to cost $2.99. Go figure. Let me use this as an opportunity to say that filling in your eyebrows is one of the simplest and most dramatic things you can do to bring structure to your face and attention to your eyes. It will seem “scary” at first but once you see how much better you look, it’s a step you won’t ever want to skip.  Everyone will notice how great you look but they probably won’t realize why. It might take some getting used to, but it is worth it.  Baby steps. Just do it.

Once Nicole’s makeover was complete, I had a blast color matching everyone for foundation and doing mini-makeovers on all of them! What a wonderful group of ladies.

Special thanks to Joanne Sardini and The Vineyard Square Hotel for hosting the event and allowing me to stay in one of their absolutely gorgeous suites. Between Joanne and the hotel and Chesca’s Restaurant I didn’t want to leave … so I made a weekend of it. What a fun time.


Thanks also to Dawn Marie Temple of Bellaria Designs Photography for coming out to take these wonderful photos for us.

Great job, Tamar!  I hope we can do it again soon!

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