I’m Back! What Have I Been Up To
Oh where do I even begin… As I stare at my computer screen with my morning coffee in hand, I began to rewind one month, 2 months, 3 months, actually 4 months back to where I kicked off my busy yet fulfilling part of early 2014. It may seemed like I fell off the face of earth for a few months, which by earth I mean the web, my blog. But in reality (literally and figuratively), I have been the most present in life that I have ever been in a long time, knowing who/what/when/where/why and how I want to be, and achieving that end goal one step at a time.
I’ve been MIA on the blog for a good couple of months now, and in blogger terms maybe that’s digging my own blog’s grave. But no matter how hectic life decides to direct me, I still keep up with my Instagram (@candidlyclaire) because I love to remember and tell a story through photos; so if you follow me on my little photo blog (I call it), you may have a little bit of scoop of my presence in the past 4 months.
So, what have I been up to? Last time I gave you a reason of website re-construction, which is still happening and you can already see some visible changes. But to be frank, I’ve been a working professional working my 9 to 5, a traveler seeing places other than Southern California, a makeup artist working on part-time gigs, a student going to makeup school and attending beauty workshops, a member of the family who is “there” (very important), and a good friend who is by her friend’s side as she turns from Miss to Mrs.
Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I will take you through my 4-month journey of many roles with some of my favorite photos. Follow me!
6-week Hair Design Program –
In early March, I began my 6-week professional hair design training at April Love Pro Makeup Academy, which took place every Wednesday from 6:00pm to 10:00pm and lasted through mid-April. I remember rushing out of work at 5:30pm every Wednesday evening, skipping my usual workout routine so I can make it to the class. However, regardless of how rushed it felt, and how late it was after a long day of work inside a cubicle, I always looked forward to Wednesdays because the class was my only creative outlet where I can play the role of an artist. I enjoyed every moment of it! Check out my class recap if you’re interested in finding out about the class.
USC Day of SCervice –
As a day of community giving, I spent a day with my fellow alumni group at the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children in Downtown Los Angeles, providing them a professional development day where we assisted the women on resume reviews and career image consulting. I volunteered at the makeup station assisting the women on how to apply office appropriate makeup, only to realize that the experience was more than just another makeup gig.
12-week Makeup Artistry Program –
If you don’t already know, I was determined to complete my beauty school certifications this year and signed up for both the hair and makeup programs offered at April Love Pro Makeup Academy at the same time. The first makeup class started just at the end of March and happened to overlap a couple weeks of the hair course. For 12 weeks, I would dedicate every Saturday from 9:00am to 1:30pm to learn about color theory, contouring, bridal makeup, period makeup, and various makeup techniques that I never would have known; not only that, the school offered a great support system and provided business mentoring for working in the beauty industry. I would say that I was blessed with the opportunity to join the April Love Pro Makeup Academy team; and what I took away from the experience is something not a paragraph can cover. I will definitely give a thorough review of the school and the makeup artistry program in an upcoming post.
New York City –
Among all the classes that I got myself into, I found time to sneak away for an extended weekend to visit the Big Apple! Oh goodness it was tiring, but definitely an unforgettable experience since it was my first time flying out of California! I had a blast being a tourist in Manhattan for 5 days, and it pushed my travel button to green. From now on, I hope to share all my travels through photo journals on this blog; check out My Trip in Photos: NYC Edition!
Bridal trial and Wedding –
Through a friend of a friend, I was introduced to this beautiful bride Judy, and had the honors to help her with her bridal look on her wedding day. There’s something about weddings that I truly enjoy: may it be because it’s the most important day of love for the bride, or the act of creating natural and flawless beautiful looks, it always puts a smile on my face when I see the final work done by my own hands.
Mother’s Day –
Oh yes, can’t forget this one. I’m very family oriented, and always make an effort to bring the family together to celebrate important days of the year. This year, Mother’s Day happened to fall within my 4-months of madness, but it was more than a priority for me to spend time with my family than to rest because I’m tired from work or from class. We spent a day in Carlsbad at The Flower Fields looking at acres of ranunculus flowers, a Mother’s Day luncheon at Karl Strauss Brewery & Restaurant, and then the rest of the afternoon strolling along South Carlsbad State Beach. It was a fun family day, and I know that my mom enjoyed her beautiful day. (p.s. my family is camera shy)
My Best Friend’s Bachelorette Party –
I have known this girl for 16 years. So of course when I was asked to be one of her bridesmaids on her wedding day, I immediately said “Yes!” Her wedding had been long in the planning, and at the end of June 2014 was when she walked down the isle and turned from Miss to Mrs. So no matter how busy I was with my life, I knew that I had to be present for every major festivity that led to my girl friend’s special day, including the bachelorette party. We had an awesome girls’ weekend at Lake Tahoe, rafting down the Truckee River, enjoying an elegant dinner cruise on the Tahoe Queen, celebrating with a night out in Reno, NV, and relaxing for an afternoon at a lakeside beach. It was such a clean, fun, and beautiful weekend of celebration, and I do not regret putting everything aside to have this memorable experience in Tahoe with my high school best friend.
Crystal Wright Portfolio Building Class –
There May goes, and here comes June, the month where the 12-week makeup class comes to an end with a final fantasy makeup competition. During the crazy week of makeup final, I managed to attend the portfolio building class taught by Crystal Wright, hosted by April Love Pro Makeup Academy. I rushed to it from work in my office clothes, hair pulled back and face hardly done, mentally beat down and asked myself, “Why did I even sign up for this class?” Well, my question was quickly answered 10 minutes into the 4-hour class. Attending the class was a great career decision and it gave me a different perspective on surviving in the beauty industry. Even though it took place 2 days before the final, it was definitely worthwhile.
Final Fantasy Makeup Competition/12-week Makeup Artistry Program Graduation –
On the morning of this day, all I could think of was “The day has come.” So much thought process and time went into creating this ethereal floral goddess look: from not knowing my exact direction for the look to the many failure practice sessions, I finally was able to just “let it go” and let the look flow as I twirl my brushes on this beautiful model on the day of the final. A competition and a graduation; I ended up sharing a winning 3rd place with another classmate’s final look, and walked home with a big smile and my Certified Makeup Artist certificate in hand. I did it! I’ve wanted this validation for as long as I can remember, and now I can finally have the confidence to continue my journey as a makeup artist. I can’t wait for the professional photographs to be released! And I will elaborate on how I decided on this final look in a later post.
My Best Friend’s Wedding –
Two weeks after the makeup graduation, I then traveled north to the bay area to finally see my high school best friend walk down the isle in that gorgeous Oscar de la Renta wedding gown (Curious about the process of picking the right dress? I will soon feature my friend’s dress shopping experience after some catching up here on the blog). It was a beautiful wedding ceremony held at the Santa Clara Mission and a romantic sunset reception at the Clos LaChance Winery in San Martin, CA. I’m honored to be by her side on her big day after many many years of friendship and sisterhood. Today, just one week after the wedding, I am sitting here reminiscing her celebration and thinking that all the time and effort put into this beautiful wedding was truly worth it.
So that pretty much sums up what I’ve been up to these past few months with my life. Yup, I’m only human. So I’ve been just playing the role of a normal human being trying to keep myself busy and motivated with the many things that life brings to test me. In all honesty, I was really overwhelmed by everything that occurred around the same time, especially during the 12-week makeup session that required the most of my dedication. It was not easy trying to maintain a work life balance; but with time management and prioritizing the various events, I was able to play the many roles that I chose to play in the short amount of time that it all took place. I can say that I definitely had a blast in the first half of 2014, and as I mentioned already, I felt the most present that I have ever been in life. I feel confident, accomplished, happy, and fulfilled. I’m sorry for taking such a long break here on the blog, but I hope that you enjoyed following along this experience with me and take away the importance of maintaining a balance in the many roles that you play.