Looking Back – How BeautyFrosting Was Born

BF Turns 2 Bloggiversary Party Co-Hosted by HomeGoods & Hope At Home - fashion illustration by Kara Endres of Sprinkles in Springs and cake by Magnolia Bakery - Photo by Takahiro Watanabe

When I started this little adventure called BeautyFrosting 2 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never written a blog. Actually, I had never even really read a blog! I mean they seemed like such a fad and, um, who had the time?
How BeautyFrosting came to be.
Then one day I found myself in Dallas sitting at our fave family spot, Mi Cocina, pondering the possibility of moving home from LA to Dallas. I was at the lowest point of my life having ended a 7-year relationship and having left my job that I’d had for years with Barbra Streisand as her personal shopper. I was down, depressed and my life wasn’t looking so beautiful.
I was searching for an answer and I found it while talking to my mom and one of my oldest, best friends – Kristin Merritt Liles. We were talking about beauty, baking and how much I love connecting with people and came up with the crazy idea of starting a place of positivity and light filled with all of the people and things I love so much. From that little, crazy nugget of an idea, BeautyFrosting was born.
Looking back, I realize that this one little leap of faith gave birth to so much. In the months following, I hit the ground running. I researched blogs that had similar aesthetics to my own, learned about the best ways to start a blog and would spend hours on Pinterest getting very clear about what exactly I wanted BeautyFrosting to be about.

Celebrating BF Turns 2 with dear friends - photo by Drunken Pixel

Introduce yourself to people, be kind and be clear about what you want.
Knowing what I know now, I realize that folks must have thought that¬†I had some major cajones – or maybe they just thought I was naive. I was told repeatedly by brands and other bloggers that I was doing it all wrong – backwards even. I was building the brand and consulting the PR before the blog had even been written or made its online debut. But I was doing it my way and it just made sense to me. After all, why would anyone (brand, person or otherwise) want to work with me if they didn’t even know who I was? Yep, that’s where my southern sensibility comes in. Whether it seemed smart or not, pr agencies and brands that I still work with have told me since that they worked me simply because I seemed charming and honest. So there ya go, folks – charm and honesty are the way to go!
Work with the talented people you already have around you.
Rather than be yet another blog to hit the already-saturated market, I decided to spend 4 months sending emails and making phone calls to hundreds of pr agencies and brands. I decided to pool my brain trust of dear, talented and creative friends to create a blog on a budget that was literally less than $200.
I created a logo and branding template – that would shape the entire blog and brand – thanks to my talented best friend and former roommate, Vanessa York of Shindig Shoppe. After all, who could understand my aesthetic better than my best friend who had lived with me for 2 years? I asked my talented photographer friend, Amy Opoka, if she would take my profile photos for the site and she did an amazing job of executing my vision on a shoestring budget.
This early experience taught me how crucial it is to collaborate with the talents of those you know best. I learned to always ask because the worst that could happen is that they say no. By the way, no one ever said no.

With my BeautyFrosting logo and graphics goddess - and best friend - Vanessa York of Shindig Shoppe - photo by Drunken Pixel

Celebrate every milestone in life.
Ask my mom and she’ll tell you – I love celebrating and I love me a party. Even as a child, I would try to find reasons to celebrate every occasion. My Barbies were getting married? Let’s throw a wedding! I got an A on a test? Let’s have a tea party! I made the cheerleading squad? Let’s have a tex-mex party! So in true Dawn-fashion, I decided to throw a Cupcakes and Cocktails debut party here at my house to celebrate the debut of the blog before anyone had even seen it. Besides being a precious affair, we brought out the laptop and let friends and former coworkers get a sneak peek at what BeautyFrosting would be. I really think a lot of things got rolling because of the choice to celebrate this little milestone. And celebrating milestones is a great way to remember the gratitude every step along the way.

Celebrate the milestones - and little victories - along the way - Photo by Drunken Pixel

Most important lesson learned on this journey? Don’t be afraid to be a fool.
Was I fearful of starting a brand new chapter of my life? Hell, yes. But you get past the fear, accept that you may indeed be a fool and get past yourself. I asked pr companies to send samples before I even knew what that meant. I asked friends to devote hours of their time and because I believed in this so much, they believed in it and wanted to be part of it, as well. And I realized that it was more important to appear confident than it was to have 1 million readers. I have never been more proud of anything…and that’s coming from someone who was never raised to be proud. This blog has literally changed my life and I am so much better because of it.
Most Importantly…Thank YOU.
I know that I am nothing without all of you guys – my readers and social media followers – finding interest in what I write about, take pictures of and who I am. So, I want to thank each and every one of you who read this every day, like my pictures on Instagram and Facebook and tweet at me. (By the way, 2 years ago, I had no idea about what any of that was – that’s how much things can change in 2 years.) I have a feeling that the next 2 years will bring even more exciting change and I hope that you will be there for my journey every step of the way. You have made my hearts so full.

Cutting the cake and celebrating 2 years of BeautyFrosting - thanks to YOU!! Photo by Takahiro Watanabe

xoxo,
BF
BF Asks: What’s your favorite feature on BeautyFrosting? What would you like to see more of?

GBK 2013 Annual Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills

This past Saturday, I had the distinct  Рand delicious Рpleasure of attending the GBK 2013 Annual Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills.

An Oscars Cake! Photo by Amy Opoka

Besides being introduced to some amazing new-to-me products and walking away with a glam gift bag filled with products we couldn’t wait to try here at BeautyFrosting, I got to meet some of my favorite all-time male celebs!

It was such a treat and SO much fun!

And there was a SLEW of celebs! Just a few included: Penny Marshall, Chris Tucker, Steven Weber, Joey Lawrence, Camilla Luddington, Ashley Williams, Evan Handler, Chazz Palminteri and Tempest Bledsoe. Not to mention Jesse Williams and Richard Kind! Stayed tuned for those photos! I’m a little partial to ’em!

Celebs enjoying the GBK Academy Awards Gift Lounge

 

First, I walked the red carpet.

GBK Academy Awards Gift Lounge 2013, Photograph by Amy Opoka

Then I ran into the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard! He was there to support The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation – whose mission it is to raise funds for research and awareness towards a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.

Me with Sugar Ray Leonard! I was so excited! This pic is obviously by me & my iPhone

Just after that, I was tempted with the luscious libations of Viva Diva Wines, one of the fastest growing Moscato brands in the United States.

Luckily, by this point, my amazing photographer Amy Opoka had arrived! So before the “work” really started, she got a quick touch-up by the fabulous Robby of NVEY ECO. His catchphrase that I love? “Don’t panic! It’s organic!” Love that guy!

Robby touching up our amazing photographer, Amy Opoka, with NVEY ECO products!

And then we saw the super handsome and charming Jesse Williams, of Grey’s Anatomy, and his sweet & lovely wife, Aryn! Of course, we had to snap a pic with our fave Doc from Seattle Grace Mercy West.

Paging Dr.Avery! With Jesse Williams of Grey's Anatomy, Photo by Amy Opoka

Next it was time for a little chocolate. Thank the goodie gods for a mini sampling of Zoe’s Chocolate Company!

Being tempted by Zoe's Chocolate Company, Photo by Amy Opoka

And as if chocolate wasn’t enough? Next, Cookie Daddy tempted us with their delicious gourmet cookies!

David Costabile checking out Cookie Daddy

One of my favorite new-to-me lines was The Artisan Group – an elite, beautiful band of talented and innovative artists. I had the pleasure of receiving some gorgeous jewelry, hair accessories, photos and bath goodies that I simply cannot wait to try! And it’s the ultimate example of supporting small business & vendors!

The Artisan Group, Photo by Amy Opoka

Some of our finds at The Artisan Group! Photo by Amy Opoka

And my faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavorite find of the day!!!!!!!

Soapy Bliss bakery-inspired products Photo by Amy Opoka

 

Can you tell how much I loved?

A match made in heaven! Photo by Amy Opoka

I loved chatting with the ladies from¬†Viavo! So sweet and such great-smelling avocado oil enriched bath & body products that I can’t wait to try!

Smelling Viavo body scrub! Photo by Amy Opoka

I enjoyed talking with Dr.Ted Eisenberg about his new book, “The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts of Myths”.

Photo by Amy Opoka

I stopped by EcoGenics Active Botanical Skincare and got the scoop on this paraben free skincare system.

EcoGenics, Photo by Amy Opoka

Next? A little social lubrication was in order so I sipped a Skinny Girl cocktail. I left with a few of their Skinny Girl wines to try! Skinny and wine? Two of my favorite things.

Cheers to Skinny Girl cocktails! Photo by Amy Opoka

And as we left, I ran smack-dab into the talented and hilarious Richard Kind who could not have been more gracious.

Richard Kind lives up to his name! Photo by Amy Opoka

And then, we unpacked all of the goodies in the gift bag!

 

What a wonderful day to live in LA! I already can’t wait for next Award season!

xoxo,

BF

 

BF Asks: Which is your favorite Awards show?

Friday Favorite: Angeleno Magazine Poolside Beauty Event

It was the fondest, most fabulous farewell a summer could ask for!

Dawn McCoy, London Hotel West Hollywood, Photo by Amy Opoka

Walking onto the rooftop of the London Hotel West Hollywood this past Tuesday, for Angeleno Magazine’s Poolside Beauty Event, I was greeted by the best of beauty – and the beautiful.

Treatments and treats were being offered to photographer Amy Opoka and I from every direction. Cocktails, sushi, manis, pedis, mini oxygen facials, makeup & lash applications, fashion shows and more. Here’s a gorgeous little glimpse:

Cocktail Waiter: “Would you like a VeeV Cosmo or Lemonade?” (Yes, please! Off to a good start!)

Dawn McCoy, London Hotel West Hollywood, Photo by Amy Opoka

Givenchy: Would you like to experience our fragrance, Dahlia Noir? (I would love to!!)

Givenchy Dahlia Noir, Angeleno Poolside Beauty Event, London Hotel West Hollywood, Photo by Amy Opoka

 

GLAMGLOW: “Have you tried GLAMGLOW?” (I have, I’ve gushed about it on my blog, I love it and I would love for my photographer to try! So, Yes please!)

GLAMGLOW, Angeleno Poolside Beauty Event, London Hotel West Hollywood, Photo by Amy Opoka

 

Burke Williams: “Would you like to see how your skin will look in 10 years?”¬†(Ummmmmm…well, scary, but I guess I should? Thankfully, the future looks good thinks to major moisture and daily sunscreen over the past 2 decades. She actually says I have the most gorgeous skin she has seen that evening. Maybe she says that to everyone. Regardless, I smile and feel a tad bit better about my future. And I have a serious hankering for a Burke Williams massage and facial. My faaaaaaavorites!! )

Blushington: Would you like a makeup pick-me-up? (I’ve been dying to try you guys! And with the pretty-in-pink, gorgeous Emma Willis at the helm, count me in!)

Gold Grenade: Would you like to try our new DIY Nail art line by The New Black? (Yes!!! But I just got a manicure. No worries! I get to take a kit home with me thanks to the delicious goodie bag) 

 

Lashfully: Would you like to experience the best eyelash extensions you’ll ever have at our new boutique opening on Rodeo in September? (Um, most definitely. And y’all are so sweet!)

 

Did you see Christina Millian? Jeff Goldblum? Vanessa Simmons? ¬†(Yes!!! And see them? Amy got some gorgeous pics!! No matter how long I live in LA, the kiddo in me will always think it’s pretty fun to see famous people in my midst. Jaded, I am not)

Christina Millian, Photo by Amy Opoka, Angeleno Poolside Beauty Event, London Hotel West Hollywood

 

Gorgeous Christina Millian & her gorgeous friend, Photo by Amy Opoka, Angeleno Poolside Beauty Event, London Hotel West Hollywood

 

The other fancy & fabulous folks included in this glamorous evening on the rooftop included Tom’s Eyewear at Kitson, Thread Eyebrow Threading, Vdara Spa, Salon by Maxime, Natra Rx, Gleam, Born to Glow Tanning, Dr. Glosman Dental, Robbie Lipgloss, LA SkinAestheticsand M Cafe.

It was pretty, poolside perfection.

I left with my head in the clouds, my heart in a flutter, summer in the rearview and bags of goodies in my hand.

What could be better than that?

Dawn McCoy, London Hotel West Hollywood, Photo by Amy Opoka

 

Thank you for a night to remember, Angeleno Magazine!

Opening the goodies back at home

Opening the goodies back at home at The Cupcake Palace

 

Late night snack - an Angeleno cookie! Yummylicious!

And Happy Labor Day, beauties!!

* To see more of Amy Opoka’s wonderful work or to contact Amy, click here: www.AmyOpoka.com

 

xoxo,

BF

BF Asks: How are you saying farewell to summer?

High-Low 5

Summer just isn’t stopping for me!

As much as I’d love to sit back and relax by the pool (or by the ocean) with a book, it just isn’t going to happen because I seem to keep getting busier and busier.

But that’s a good thing!!! No complaints here! I. AM. THANKFUL!!!

Here’s my High-Low this week for your enjoyment.

HIGHS

Well, I may not be reading poolside or oceanside. But there’s always bathside! My new bedtime book,¬†Why You’re Not Married Yet¬† provides needed inspiration (& laughter) during my bedtime baths. I know how the title sounds. I do. But whatever you’re thinking, it’s not. I swear. ¬†I looooooove¬†Tracy McMillan! When I read her books, it’s like a wiser, enlightened, big sister-version-of-me is talking to myself. Sign of a brilliant, provocative and moving author. She always gives my pink highlighter quite a workout. And I’m proud to know, and read, her.

My Bedtime Read: Why You’re Not Married Yet

Farmers Market Brunch with friends. My first few years in L.A., a group of us would gather at the Farmers Market at the Grove every Sunday. They were so much fun I call these times lost days – just eating, drinking and catching up with friends. Such a luxury of youth!
With my brother in town, I decided to resurrect those luxurious, lost days and invited some of my favorite people. I think we just may have started a new, repurposed tradition!

A New Old Tradition: Farmers Market Sunday Brunch with Friends

Getting to have a Girls Night Out at “A Night of Beauty” at The Viceroy Santa Monica with my favorite photographer – and – one of my favorite people, Amy Opoka.

We were treated to mini massages from Burke Williams - aaaaaaahhhhh

Poolside Shoe-Shoppin' at The Viceroy "A Night of Beauty"

Coming up with a new recipe: Oreo Surprise Cupcakes

A new discovery for the Recipe Box: Oreo Surprise Cupcakes

Surprise! The surprise inside my Oreo Surprise Cupcakes

This new giftwrapping collection I spotted at Target.

Spotted: Giftbag Collection at Target

This reminds me of someone!!

This reminds me a little of someone - hmmm...

A fun summer ‘do: Cascading Half-Up

A Fun Summer 'Do: Cascading Half UpDo

Getting some poolside cocktails with precious friends from my years with Barbra. Sweet summer memories!

Poolside Cocktails with Friends from my days with Barbra

A friend’s Texas-themed party in beautiful Topanga Canyon. Between the band and the views, it was sheer bliss!

A fun band called The Wind & The Rain & an amazing view

And, lastly, I spotted this at Sephora last week. I can hardly wait to get it! It smells just like camp & summer romance. Coveting this right now.

Coveting: Clinique Happy Summer Spray at Sephora ($60)

 LOWS

There’s just one but it’s a big one.

Nora Ephron

I’m a big Nora Ephron fan. Have been ever since I saw Heartburn. Man, talk about a good, empowering breakup¬†movie! And then, I read the book the movie was based on.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Wow. I fell in love with Nora Рlike so many did. Her honesty, humor and belief in the power of women was palpable. And her passing simply cannot be taken lightly. Heaven may have gained a sweet, sassy angel but we have lost a dear heart and a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

 

xoxo,

BF

BF Asks: What was your favorite Nora Ephron work? 

I love them, and I know you will too!

Shindig Shoppe
Love the design of my site? My logo? My face chart? My invites?
This is where you need to go.
The brilliant, always-stylish, Vanessa York’s Shindig Shoppe.
She is my design fairy godmother for all of your beautiful graphic needs.

Amy Opoka Photography
“Who did your photos?”
I get this. A LOT.
Amy Opoka did them and she has done lots more where that comes from.
Music, fashion, editorial, headshots, live performances: she’s your girl.

Bonjour+Hola

I heart this blog. It has taught me so much. Like, to eat a bowl of corn the night before a photo shoot to make your skin glow.
And its creator, Elizabeth Baker, is one of my favorite ladies. I’ve known her since she was in high school and she has always been an icon waiting to happen.

Neiman Marcus
I grew up at Neiman Marcus Northpark. I jokingly refer to it as The Mothership. My first job was here, working for Trish McEvoy. I always visit when I’m home and, during a shopping job at the Beverly Hills location, I love grabbing lunch at their cozy restaurant.

Beauty Collection
Lots of shopping for my clients takes place here, both in-store and online. They’re accommodating, kind and super-informed.

Woo Skincare & Cosmetics
I worked at Woo, years ago, as a Bobbi Brown counter manager and helped introduce the Armani Beauty line to Nashville, as Armani’s Counter Manager.
More importantly, you can find almost everything I write about at Woo!

Uptown Country Home
Can’t get enough of the darling home decor that Jenny offers at her adorable store. If you like shabby chic, you will be in heaven here.