Although this is a MUCH less glamorous post than usual, I think there is some highly relevant and important beauty information.  I always knew that the once-monthly spots that overtook my chin were the result of not-so-stable hormones. However, it introduced me to a whole new (actually old) science of face mapping, which is pretty much the key to unlocking the mysteries behind problem skin.

Face mapping, which is fast taking centre stage at most clinics nowadays, combines Ayurveda and ancient Chinese medicine with cutting edge dermatologists’ prescriptions to explain how certain parts of your face are connected to other areas of your body. Put simply, think of your face as a map and blemishes as X’s on that landscape. Spots in different zones correspond to different problems.  So, with this “map” as your guide, you can address the underlying causes of blemishes and not only make the unsightly zits vanish but also treat the underlying health problem in time.

Pretty awesome, right? Try it out: Here is how to decode breakouts in the basic areas.


1 & 2: Digestive System — Eat less processed or junk food, reduce the amount of fat in your diet, step up water intake and opt for cooling things like cucumbers.

3: Liver — Cut out the alcohol, greasy food and dairy. This is the zone where food allergies also show up first, so take a look at your ingredients. Besides all this, do 30 minutes of light exercise every day and get adequate sleep so your liver can rest.

4 & 5: Kidneys — Anything around the eyes (including dark circles) point to dehydration. Drink up!

6: Heart — Check your blood pressure (mine was slightly high) and Vitamin B levels. Decrease the intake of spicy or pungent food, cut down on meat and get more fresh air. Besides this, look into ways to lower cholesterol, like replacing “bad fats” with “good fats” such as Omegas 3 and 6 found in nuts, avocados, fish and flax seed. Also, since this area is chock-full of dilated pores, check that your makeup is not past its expiry date or is skin-clogging.

7 & 8: Kidneys — Again, drink up! And cut down on aerated drinks, coffee and alcohol as these will cause further dehydration.

Zone 9 & 10: Respiratory system — Do you smoke? Have allergies? This is your problem area for both. If neither of these is the issue, don’t let your body overheat, eat more cooling foods, cut down on sugar and get more fresh air. Also keep the body more alkaline by avoiding foods that make the body acidic (meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar) and adding more alkalizing foods like green veggies and wheatgrass juice. Another thing that most of forget – dirty cell phones and pillow cases are two of the top acne culprits and this area is what they affect the most!

Zone 11 & 12: Hormones — This is the signature zone for stress and hormonal changes. And while both are sometimes unavoidable, you can decrease their effect by getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating leafy veggies and keeping skin scrupulously clean. Another interesting point: breakouts in this area indicate when you are ovulating (and on which side).

Zone 13: Stomach — Step up the fibre intake, reduce the toxin overload and drink herbal teas to help with digestion.

14: Illness — Zits here can be a sign that your body is fighting bacteria to avoid illness. Give it a break, take a yoga class, take a nap, take time to breathe deeply, drink plenty of water and know that everything always works out!

So the next time you break out or notice dark under-eye circles, look to your face map: your skin is probably trying to communicate on behalf of the internal organs. However, do remember that, as with all medical issues, it is always best to see your doctor or dermotologist for a proper prognosis. This is just a general guide to head you off in the right investigative direction – just becuase you break out between the brows doesn’t always mean you have a bad liver!



I want to start with the top two mistakes brides seem to be making (ALOT) when it comes to wedding planning:

1) The absolute NUMBER ONE MOST important vendor of your entire wedding, is your photographer. And guess what, this is most often the vendor that brides cut the cheapest deal with. And worse than that, they sometimes have their friends — who are NOT professionals — grab their expensive looking camera and attempt to capture the day for minimal to zero cost and as I like to call it, “play dress up as your photographer”. This is one of the worst mistakes I’ve seen brides make over and over again. Let me explain why…

A GREAT photographer can make any wedding, no matter the budget, appear in photographs like a million dollars. They capture the romance, the mood and all of the tiny details that a novice would never think to photograph. As a makeup artist, I rely heavily on these pictures so that I can display my work on my website gallery and blog. It is essentially my portfolio. So often, too often, I do makeup on a GORGEOUS bride (and wedding) and when the pictures come back they are complete and utter crap (excuse my language) deeming them completely un usable. But forget about me, I’ll find plenty of other pictures, but I do want to mention this cause other vendors feel the exact same way. But MOST importantly, lets talk about you, is that what you want framed around your house for the next 50 years? No. A picture lasts a lifetime. So here is my advice, look at photographer’s portfolios and I mean look through several and do your research. Any decent photographer is going to cost money, but consider a few things you might not know… they are at your venue for an average of 10 to 12 hours on the wedding day and THEN Photoshop and sort through prints for hours in their studio to give you beautiful and flawless prints. Trust me, photographers earn every penny, and are worth every penny. Take this vendor seriously when arranging your budget. Feel free to email me if you need recommendations I know several and I honestly just want you to be happy at the end of the day.

TIP: If your favorite photographers are just simply all out of your price range, inquire about their second shooter and their services. They will be cheaper and you know that they are vetted in the art of picture-taking and know how to shoot in a similar style as their boss.

2) Mistake number 2 that over 70 percent of brides make:

Many brides let their friends act as professional vendors (as mentioned above with photography) and let them do their makeup and/or hair on one of the most important days in a girl’s life! The ability to do flawless lasting makeup and hair is a skilled, highly practiced art.  It requires a kit, hours of training and true experience. I have personally been trained by some of the top pro artists in the country,  over 80 hours on basic makeup application alone. Trust me when I say that I know my craft and I will make you look your very best version of yourself on your wedding day.

Lets talk about hair. Be VERY wary of salons that also offer to do makeup for your big day.  Make sure they have an actual artist on staff who is trained in makeup and does it professionally.  In hair school (even the TOP programs in the world) they spend an average of one week learning the basics of makeup.  One week, as part of a year-long program and that’s all folks! I am not saying that a person can’t have talent for both, but often, salons do hair and are much stronger in that area. Hairdressers who also do makeup are rarely professional makeup artists anymore than I am a professional hair dresser.  We are women, we all know how to do makeup and hair but doing it on someone else is a whole different ball game…

Now, lets dive into other areas of wedding planning and find ways to cut corners financially (without anyone really noticing) while still making the wedding look like a million bucks!


1) The first and easy way to have all of those beautiful and yes, expensive details at your wedding is to cut the guest list. This will slash your catering costs, save on invitations, the number of centerpieces (ie FLOWERS, vases, candles), place settings, cake size, alcohol, and venue size (with a smaller guest list, it’s now more feasible to find a private estate and have a lovely tented or non-tented backyard wedding under the stars!) Bottom line, the less people, the more you can focus on getting high-end details and are able to have everything you want — i.e the expensive options that are pay per head.

2. Think off-peak season and save thousands! Skip the Saturday wedding. Perhaps a Friday evening or Sunday wedding, vendors usually give a break on those days … even during peak season.

3. Hold your ceremony and reception in one spot — it will cut travel time for vendors that you pay by the hour.

4. Have bigger tables so you need fewer centerpieces and tablecloths.

6. Shop the off-season for extra decor — get modern black vases on sale after Halloween and pretty pink ones after Valentine’s Day. In most cases it is cheaper to shop for these things on a budget and own them than to rent them for one night.

7. Swap out costly flowers — did you know peonies can be five times more expensive than roses? If you DO want peonies, you must marry in the Spring when they are in season. Garden roses look similar and are much more cost-effective. Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers. Always buy flowers that are in season. And consider buying them in bulk online and having a few experts arrange them in your home. This will save HUNDREDS. I plan on draping my whole wedding in flowers, so I plan on buying from well know flower farms (in bulk amounts) and arranging them myself — with help from experts of course. Flowers are usually best arranged 2 days before the wedding when they are at their peak bloom. So yes, you have time to spend working on them well before the wedding day.

8. Offer beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of a full bar.

9. Order a small one or two-tiered cake and then supplement cake with a larger sheet cake (hidden back in the kitchen). Yes, it will taste the same and your small adorable cake will be more for show and MUCH cheaper. But still fabulous in photos! 😉 Also, the use of fresh flowers to adorn the cake is much cheaper than using sugar ones.

10. Reuse ceremony flowers, candles and anything you want to adorn the cake table or even the main bridal table. I’ve seen blank vases set aside for the bridal party to place their bouquets in after the ceremony and poof, you have a bunch of extra gorgeous flower arrangements to decorate the head table!

11. Make your own menu and escort cards (only if you feel crafty enough, with so many how to’s out there and some bridal party free labor you can buy the necessities at Michaels, use Kinkos to print out special cursive font and with the addition of some ribbon or a rhinestone placed just right, no one will ever know! This is a HUGE money saver.

12. Don’t do wedding favors, no one cares about those Jordan Almonds, I promise. And while we’re at it, a wedding program is really not necessary either. You are the only one that might scrapbook it, everyone else will throw it away. Spend more on your invitations, those set the entire tone for the wedding well before the guests even arrive.

I hope these tips helped. Happy planing and budgeting to you all!

xo Katy

I decided to do something different for my blog as a precursor to turning the big 3 0. I’ve learned so many lessons, especially in the past two years, and I am happy to pass along some of my knowledge as well as the knowledge of a couple of well-known experts. Below are some of the most challenging and common questions that we face in life — male and female — that plaque us all. Buckle up, this blog isn’t like one’s I’ve written before, there is no whimsy here, only tried and true life lessons and advice. Five things life has taught me before 30, in no specific order. . .

#1- How to make the best decision


When you get right down to it, life is a string of choices: City or suburbs? Debit or credit? John or Chris? Lisa or Amy? Chicken or fish? It’s tantalizing to think that there is just one, and only one, correct branch of every decision tree and that it’s just waiting to be uncovered by a sufficient amount of rational analysis. “We feel an obligation to use all our intellectual tools to find the absolute ideal option,” says Berry Schwartz, a professor of psychology and author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. “But that’s a fool’s errand.”

This year I turned down a well-paying government job {twice} to follow my passion as a makeup artist for M.A.C and continue working on the success of my own business {Couture Makeup.} My gut told me on two different occasions that my happiness and passion were more important than the stability, prestige, or money that came with that specific position. I’ve done my best not to look back and wonder if it was a huge mistake, but deep down, I know that I made the right decision. To speak candidly, I was also in a unique position this year of choosing between two different men, men that I cared for and loved who loved me in return, and in the end I chose me. I knew that I wanted and needed time to be single and find myself. By no means was it the easy way out, it was actually quite painful, but when your heart is leading you to a conclusion that is so blatantly clear, you must follow it.

The more we agonized over a decision, the more paralyzed we become, Schwartz explains, and the greater our potential for unhappiness later. Pros and cons are not always of equal weight, so instead of making a 10-foot, two-column list, he advises, sit down and ask your gut first. There may be 244 reasons not to do something, but how do they stack up against one pro like “If I don’t, I’ll always regret it?” After you’ve discovered what’s really in your heart of hearts, take the pressure off by lowering your expectations, then do your best not to look back. “Revisiting decisions after you’ve made them is not a good idea,” says Schwartz. “If you do, you’ll find a lot to be dissatisfied with.” There’s no blueprint for infallibility. Success is getting it wrong as infrequently as possible.

#2- How to spot a narcissist


The “narcissistic personality”– a legend-in-their-own-mind type who assumes that other people exist merely to admire them — is notoriously difficult to tag in the wild. That’s because at first you’re having so much fun with them, romantic or friendly, to notice the signs. Only later will you register the considerable emotional drain of being in their company.

Here are some indicators that you may have a narcissist on your hands. Are they social, charming and, well, kinda materialistic? Are they rude to waiters? Do they have grandiose plans? Do their eyes glaze over when you try to talk about yourself and steer the conversation back to their favorite topic or general self? Do they blame others when things go wrong?

“A narcissistic person can be really likable and exciting at the beginning,” says Keith Campbell, coauthor of The Narcissistic Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. “The problem is that they lack empathy.” So rather than considering your needs — ever — the narcissist believes that their time and energy are best spent on activities benefiting the worlds most exceptional person, themself. This selfishness is wearing, and you are soon tapped dry from constantly reinforcing the charmer’s high opinion of themself.

If your narcissist is a potential romantic partner, you should probably run, says Campbell, no matter how thrilling the ride. “It’s like eating a bunch of chocolate cake,” he says. “It feels really good at first, but later you’re sick.”

If your narcissist is a friend and you want to maintain the relationship, it’s up to you to understand their limitations. “Accept that he or she is a lot of fun to have a drink with, and enjoy them on that level, but don’t hope for anything further.”

This year, I had to let go of a 12 year friendship. I don’t know if it will be forever, but I do know that it needed to happen. The friendship never made me feel good about myself, it was always about the person and their needs. When I was finally able to label the person as a narcissist, it felt like I had finally found the missing piece to the puzzle. I could stand back and say, “wow, ok so this is why the relationship never worked!” My newfound awareness of how important my metal health was, and how this person seemed to cause constant conflict, made the dissolution of the friendship a very freeing move. A part of me loves this person and always will. I pray that she grows and perhaps we can be friends again down the road. You might be thinking “Wow, not after said person reads this post!!” I can assure you, this person has never read a blog I’ve written in the 5 years I’ve been writing, even though I had asked her to on numerous occasions. My blog has always been a huge part of me and it thrills me when friends and family take the time to view my work. It simply proves my point, it is the narcissistic personality that drives such self-focused behavior and therefore, most of the details of my life have rarely ever been important.

#3- How to walk away


We hate to quit. Not just because supposedly quitters never win, but because of a cognitive distortion that psychologist and economists’ call the “sunk cost fallacy.” Say you’re sitting on the couch watching a show that sucks, you’ll probably change the channel. Now say you’re at a movie that’s bad, because you paid $10 for the ticket, will you walk out? It’s less likely, because you have spent $10 into the experience and will never get that money back. “But which future life will be better?” asks Schwartz. “The one in which you sit through the awful movie or the one in which you leave?” And yet you have that nagging feeling that you must somehow recoup your investment, however meager.

Schwarts evokes the wisdom of Kenny Rodgers: “You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.” Think of quitting as an investment in your future, happier self — that is, the you who is free of the frustrating job, the lousy relationship, or whatever it is that is draining your will to go on.

I got my degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I worked in one of the top labs in the country, but I hated going to work {almost} everyday. Here, I had poured thousands of dollars into a college education, to find myself 6 years later owning my own business doing makeup. Walking away was beyond difficult, but in the end, I had to because my happiness was more important than the paycheck or prestigious job title. In fact, as Couture Makeup was getting started, I began working at the mall for M.A.C (Makeup Artist Cosmetics) to help build my knowledge, skill, and kit. I went from working at Sea World and the Department of Defense to a makeup counter in the mall. Funny thing was, working at M.A.C was one of the happiest times I had experienced post college.

There’s a good chance that someone will be unhappy with your decision, so get comfortable with being uncomfortable– for a while, anyway. My friends and family had a very hard time understanding my choice to start this company. The reality is that in walking away we may have to sit with a range on unpleasant feelings, including anxiety and guilt. So when you make an important decision like leaving, take time to think it through, then be prepared for the difficult emotions that invariably come with change.

#4- How to take criticism


Criticism can hit like a punch, and you may experience a physical reaction. Is your chest tight? Is there a lump in your throat? Experts say to note where you are feeling the stress, awareness helps you relax these spots, which in turn calms your mind. Anytime we locate an emotional state in our body it becomes more manageable than when it’s in our heads– where we wind up having a five-hour conversation with ourselves about the criticism.

When we hear criticism our sense of self can get hijacked. Let yourself say, “Ouch! that hurt!” and resist the urge to rush into rationalizations {“It’s not my fault! You hate me!} or self recrimination {“It’s all my fault, I hate me!.”} If you need some time to get your head together, ask for it. Say, “I’m caught off guard a little, but I want to take this in, so let me think a minute before we keep talking.” That obviously requires a great deal of maturity, but it actually is quite simple. A fiery personality will have difficulties exercising that method, but much is to be gained from taking a minute to review the criticism.

The next step, when you’re somewhat calmer, is to honestly consider what is being said. Often, it’s something that you need to hear. Be nice to yourself, but take it in, if you don’t that cheats you out of the chance to learn something. Real self-compassion is acknowledging that you can be less than perfect sometimes without being a total failure. Then you can take in what the other person is saying and also have the internal support to carry on.

Criticism will come from time to time, it’s a fact of life, and it could come by way of anyone, ranging from family to friends, lovers, bosses, even strangers. This year, I was criticized by a wedding planner who barely knew me. And it hit hard, like a punch in the gut. It made me so angry {I rarely get angry, and it takes a lot to get me there} and I had to confront her about it because I felt that it was unjust and well, mean. Looking back, there are points that she made that I accepted and used to become a better business woman. But, there were also a lot of things said that were not accurate about me and my business, and that made me boil with rage. When we are caught in a tight spot like that, it is hard to take the good criticism and leave the bad behind. It takes a great deal of maturity and probably a little bit of time, to just sit with whatever was said and figure out what’s productive and what’s not. Take the good and leave the rest behind.

#5- How to fight right


The way a conflict discussion begins determines how it’s going to end 96 percent of the time, according to John Gottman Ph.D., who studies marriage and relationships. He can speak with such mathematical accuracy, because for 30 years he has observed more than 3000 couples in a laboratory setting while monitoring their hearts rates and other physical signs of stress.

Two people can fight fairly often and have a healthy relationship. It’s not about the number of spouts, it is about the techniques used in the ring. He claims that contempt is the best precursor of divorce, so take note if your signature move is dismissive eye-rolling. Other below-the-belt strategies include personal attacks and the silent treatment. Starting a conversation gently is the key to ending it well. Remind yourself to stop talking. If only people could listen with the same sense of passion they feel about being heard.

Finally, if you find yourself in the physiological frenzy that Gottman calls “flooding”– racing heart, sweaty palms– stop the argument, even when every cell screams “annihilate!” Stress hormones inhibit higher cognitive functions, like impulse control and attention. When we feel threatened, we can’t take in new information. According to Gottman, in the lab and in therapy sessions, when people take a break, go back to their baseline heart rate, and start the conversation again, it’s like they’ve had a brain transplant.

I’ve dealt with a lot of passive aggressive fighters in my years. They stuff and stuff until one day everything explodes. Usually, these fights start off quite heated and very passionate. I tend to be a straight shooter, when something bothers me, I bring it up right away so that it doesn’t fester and cause even worse problems down the road. It is very freeing to not constantly be mad at someone, unlike the stuffer, who holds resentment towards others and can become tremendously weighted down by those burdens.

One of the men I dated this year fought dirty, very explosive, always without all the facts and based entirely upon assumptions. It ruined the relationship. I soon realized that he had no ability to keep a cool, calm head in the heat of any difficult situation and it quickly became wearing and tiresome. If there is one thing I’ve mastered, it is the art of confrontation. That is, a clean fight. The ability to go to another person who has wronged you and gently, kindly, speak my peace and clear up whatever the situation involves. I’m not perfect and never will be, but I’m happy to say that I get an A+ in this area. I hope by sharing this advice you might learn how better solve issues. That is, to fight right.

{Berry Schwartz, Amy Mclin, pintrest couture makeup}

I feel the need to say a few words about my personal growth as well as some very exciting news for Couture Makeup. I believe in taking leaps. Following our gut. Trusting our instincts. Passion for life. Living our best life. Whatever that may be. My best steps in life have been leaps – I left Arizona after living there my entire life because I felt like I needed a fresh start. I left my corporate job on a overwhelming feeling that I needed to be doing something I was more passionate about… When I moved Couture Makeup to California, I had hopes that it would grow more prominent than it was in Arizona. Exactly a year later, I will be moving into my own business location in Little Italy, San Diego. My dreams are coming true. Just yesterday I was chosen to be the premiere makeup artist for a large and prestigious event out of many applicants in San Diego. I do not say this to gloat, I say it with excitement and a most grateful heart, especially to Mrs. Krystel Tien of Couture Events who helped make that possible. There are so many more examples, and so many times people think I am crazy while taking those leaps, but come to find out I’ve just always trusted my heart. Trusted that my “mistakes” are for a purpose. Tried to live my best life. Let my journey be an inspiration to follow your dreams, a fabulous reminder of why living your own life, full of passion, is so important. You never know what could happen…

Step into the world of
Couture Events!
This is our office in Little Italy!

1665 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Photos by the amazing and talented Reanna McHugh from
Be True Photography via Couture Events San Diego designed by Krystel Tien!

Jose Villa

Time for us to pack our bags and explore new territory! California here we come! If you know anyone getting married in Southern California please pass our name along. Our Arizona branch will still be booking to service you on your big day. See you wedding day lovlies!

 au revoir summer…until next year, or until I start to get too cold, in which case, I’ll head over to Hawaii and we shall meet again… 🙂

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