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  • A sappy note about 2015

    A blog post about feelings, by Sara Jean Stevens.

    Last January I became a mom, and have been lucky enough to not have to choose between my career and raising my baby. I stay home with her during the week, and have been booked nearly every weekend this year. I never thought starting out in this industry that I would primarily be a wedding stylist, but holy crap I feel like I've won the lottery. I still book other jobs....haircuts, special events, commericals, headshots, etc. But my bread and butter this year, for the first time, has been weddings.

    I've met other stylists who simply can't understand how I am able to "deal with brides" on a weekly basis. Honestly, I USE THE SECRET. Just kidding, but there must be something about my site that attracts the raddest, funniest, most down to earth babes. I'm also on a bridal team for the amazing Nika Vaughan, and the brides she sends me are also the best. Between the weddings I book on my own, and the ones that come through Nika, I am in no shortage of totally intellegent, pleasant women (and the occasional men) to style. That makes all the difference!

    (Disclaimer: I DO, in fact, use The Secret to find good parking spots and to keep Trump supporters from contacting me about bookings. It's been very successful on both fronts.)

    Yesterday's wedding was so fun, and my last for the year. Being with a bride and her best friends (and sisters, moms, aunties and anyone else she deems worthy), is like getting a 5 hour peek into someone's inner circle and having a sleepover at their college dorm. This is who these women really are. They dance to "Fergalicious" with champagne in hand at 10am. The squeal over everything and anything. They recount old shenanigans and keep each other snorting with laughter the entire time. One bridal party even just sat and watched Wimbledon. Not my bag, but they were being their true, authentic selves. I mean...you don't just put tennis on for "fun". You have to be INTO it to watch it. Get it, girls. 

    So here's to you, sweet brides of 2015. You put your trust in me, and in turn I got to shed a tear with your moms while I did their makeup, talking about what it really means to have a daughter. Your crazy best friends pulled me into your inside jokes, and you had me laughing the whole time. You make this job awesome. You are comedians, actors, doctors, bartenders, yoga teachers, lawyers, musicians, PR babes, moms, secret rappers, and you identify all across the beautiful rainbow spectrum of gender and sexuality. Because of your weddings, I am able to be a stay at home mom AND a working mom. I have it all, thanks to you.

    Let's do it all again in 2016. (But not you, 2015 brides. I hope none of you have another wedding next year, and that you all live happily ever after with the person you just married.)

    xox sj

  • Leave the cruelty out of my makeup, thanks.

    Over the last few years I've made a conscious effort to limit, and eliminate, products in my kit that are tested on animals. There is absolutely no reason to support companies who test on bunnies and other furry creatures. At first it was a tad daunting, and I thought for sure I'd never find professional quality products. But over time I've really been able to find some gems!

    I know in the grand scheme of things I'm only one person, and maybe taking a stand in this way won't really affect the big picture. But hell...it sure does feel good to know I'm supporting companies who care, and that some poor beagle didn't have to suffer to get the composition of my favorite mascara right.

    Here's a link to Peta's list of cruelty free companies. Plug in some of the brands you currently use and you might be suprised.    http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx

    Also, a video about some of the absolute garbage that is allowed into beauty products in the United States. Gah! Get it together! There's no need for this! If everyone did a little digging around and slowly started switching up their products to include ones that are a little more "conscious", then maybe it would start to add up. 

    Ah, to dream...  

  • Life with Enzo Milano

    As most of my friends know, I am proud (and lucky) to do work with a company called Enzo Milano. They're pretty much the inventor of the clipless curling iron, or curling "wand". For the last year or so I've had a blast flying all over the country and working trade shows for them. 

    In the last few months they've asked me to be their Chicago Educator! Woohoo! So, if any of you want to book me to come into your salon, or teach a class for a small group, feel free to email me!! I am so proud to work for a family owned company who takes care and pride in making the best styling tools I've ever used... And that's not just some car salesman pitch. I'm a terrible salesperson, actually. That's a testament to how good these irons are.  

    Here's a picture of some of my amazing Enzo family in New York a few weeks ago:

  • Lady Crew

    Ladies, ladies, ladies....   I just love working on an all-female crew sometimes! By the end of the shoot it's like a little band of sisters. 

    Last week I collaborated with photographer Petya Shalamanova, wardrobe stylist Lana McAllistar, and model Lisa Noll, from Agency Galatea. Petya and I wanted Lisa for her gorgeous, long hair and soft (yet striking) facial features. 

    I had had a big long sabbatical over the winter due to shoulder surgery, and this was my first shoot back. Yayyyy!!! Finally!! Check out some of the behind the scenes photos I snapped... I love braiding, and Lisa's hair was PERFECT. It pretty much did whatever I asked it to. 

    I would love to put my bizarre braiding skills to use on a show like, maybe, Game Of Thrones? Just throwing that one out there....     :)

  • TemptuPRO Team!!

    What a weekend! The lovely Nika Vaughan gave my info to her Temptu contact, as they were trying to put together a Chicago TemptuPro team. Score!! Last Saturday was our training, and I got to meet some other incredibly talented makeup artists from this city. It was so much fun, and really inspiring to feel such a sense of community. 

    I am proud to say I now offer airbrushing as well as traditional methods of applying makeup. Not to mention I can buy insane color palettes to create even more gnarly special fx. Things just got way more interesting... 

    Cheers to the third coast, and cheers to being part of the new Chicago TemptuPro team! xox

  • VAMOS!

    Good ol' rock and roll. I'm a fan. You're a fan. The dudes in Vamos are fans. Last night we wrapped on the music video for "Stones". Two days of shooting, and the Brain Killer team has done it again. The release party will be epic, just like this video. I got to wear a few hats on this one... producer, 1st AD and hair/makeup artist. LIKE A BOSS. So much fun. I wish we could film music videos every day. If you know of some people who need one made, send them this way!

    Check out Vamos at: www.thisisvamos.com

  • Hairstylist, makeup artist, producer... PHONE CAMERA NINJA?

    Just kidding. But I DO love the little silent noir video I took behind the scenes at a recent shoot. I did the hair and makeup for Wanderlustings 2013 Spring/Summer jewelry line. Check out our babe of a model, Jen. Those eyes! You can find the final images in the beauty/editorial section on my homepage. xox

  • I love weddings, it's true.

    I love styling them, I love thinking about my own (best party ever), and I especially love going to weddings of people I adore.  I have been truly blessed with my bridal clients. Every single one of them is a dream to work with, and I end up wanting to be their maid of honor. No lie. 

    A few weeks ago I styled my good friend Katie for her wedding. Her and Josh are pretty much the greatest couple ever, and I was so excited when she asked me to be her stylist. I love helping brides feel like the most gorgeous woman in the world on their wedding day...and it's even better when they're one of your close friends. Here's a little behind the scenes shot of me working on Katie. I cannot WAIT to see the final images from that day, shot by Kelly Jung.

  • It's May!!

    Ahhh... here's to Spring, and to change! My old site is now resting in website heaven, and my husband has helped me launch this new beauty. All of my old blog posts were lost, but I'm okay with that. Let's start fresh. Let's grow, and change, and evolve. 

    A few weeks ago I had the awesome job of styling the hair and makeup for the cover (and 6 pages inside) of TimeOut Chicago's spring fashion issue. Here's a quick shot of that. Julia Stotz was the amazing photographer. Love that girl! It seemed extra special now that TOC is doing away with their print editions.