Beauty Products Must-Haves for Achieving a ‘Natural Look’. Interview with Professional Makeup + Hairstylist Artist Zee Gustafson

We all have those days where we desperately need to hide the signs of fatigue & stress from lack of sleep before (read: staying up with baby or sick kiddos) an important event, meeting with a client or even lunch out with a friend.

I rarely wear makeup but every now and than I like to spruce things up a bit, especially when there’s an interview involved. A few months ago I had to pleasure to work with professional hairstyle and makeup artist Mackenzie “Zee” Gustafson of Zee Artistry (refer to detailed Bio at the end of this post) I asked “Zee” to help me achieve a natural look for an upcoming interview/photo shoot.   I was so pleased with the results that I decided to bring her in for a short Q and A on the must-have beauty products for achieving a comfortable, natural look. Here is what Zee had to say.


1. Can you direct us to a few low-key/ must-have beauty products we can use on daily basis?

Absolutely! A few products that are must-haves on a daily basis for me are:
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 – This is the best lip balm you will ever own and it is worth EVERY penny ($22.50)

Clarisonic MIA Face Brush – An every day cleansing brush to exfoliate and generate faster cell turnover which tightens the skin, brightens it and cleans off excess makeup/dirt that normal cleansing does not do. ($125)

Maybelline Clear Mascara – I use this to keep my clients brows in place. It also removes extra powder left on lashes or if you want a to go bare faced but still want your lashes to look polished. ($5)

Sephora Airbrush Concealer Brush – I have actually bought three of these to have at all times. This brush is a magician! It flawlessly blends concealer, foundation and contour. With the rounded head you are able to buff out excess pigment. ($24)

2. Which are your go-to beauty products? If you can list a few that you would recommend each girl should have…what would they be?

In my kit, the products I always need to have on hand are Vaseline (Both the original tub and Vaseline Cocoa Butter Body gel), MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, Embryolisse Moisturizer/Primer, and Makeup Forever Loose Setting Powder in #12. I use all of these on every client I come in contact with because the basics of a makeup application are what make the rest of the look come out polished. If you don’t take the time to properly prep your skin, lightly conceal where necessary and set, all other components won’t turn out the way you wanted.


(this is a photo from our makeup/hair session – my makeup consists of all the above products mentioned by Zee. Photo by Kelly Allison Photography)

3. How can one achieve that natural look?

The biggest advice I can give about achieving a ‘natural’ look is to relax on your application of foundation. It is natural instinct to pile on the makeup to look ‘flawless’ but what we fail to realize is 45 minutes later your makeup will have creased and moved. I concentrate on concealing the problem areas (under eyes, around the nose and blemishes) then if still necessary I will apply foundation. Usually a light setting powder is all I need if I’ve concealed properly. I have found that my skin has cleared up and looks more radiant when I am not completely covering it all with product.

4. Can we discuss trends? What’s hot right now?

A trend I am really seeing women utilize is highlight and contour. On the daily, women are becoming savvy to little tricks that enhance jawlines and brighten under eyes. This comes with the warning that there is a fine line before contour can get messy! Start by using powder bronzer as your contour before you graduate to using cream foundations.
For Spring/Summer, pastel shadows and smokey under eye liner are coming back. If you are nervous to try a pastel shadow on your lid, start with a blue or purple eyeliner and a good coat of a black mascara (my favorite is Diorshow Black Out). The hint of pastel will pop any eye look and the black mascara will tone down the color until you feel comfortable enough to try it out on the whole eyelid!


Mackenzie Gustafson is a Celebrity Makeup Artist based in Chicago, Illinois. With over seven years of industry experience, she began her career with Sephora as a Color Specialist where she was able to learn and refine her craft. In 2010, she founded Zee Artistry after making the decision to leave the retail world and pursue makeup as a full time freelance artist. In the past three years she has made her mark in the Chicago scene and has worked with clients such as Lupe Fiasco, William Shatner, Debbie Gibson, and RUSKO to name a few. Proficient in Editorial, Commercial, Bridal, Airbrush, and Special FX makeup, Mackenzie’s work has been featured across multiple forms of media including television (MTV, TNT, TLC), feature films, book covers, billboards, and magazines (Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Sports Illustrated). She currently works consistently with the WGN Morning News applying makeup to the anchors as well as guests to the show.

Thank you Zee for the great advise! I am sure we can all use all of the tips you so kindly provided!

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Happy Easter!

I hope you’re looking forwards the weekend as much as I am! Easter is such a special time for our family. After a 40 day lent, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord with a much anticipated church service on Saturday night and a feast (after breaking the fast) all day Sunday.

Spring has yet to settle here. We had a few 70 degree weather days last week to only get one last snow day yesterday. I don’t even know what to wear anymore. We are longing for warmer days. That’s all I can say:)

Here’s an Easter/Spring Freebie for you! To download, simply click the image below.


You may also like to check out this fun Easter Egg Tutorial.


Happy Easter everyone!

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Mother’s Day 2014 Gift Guide

Mom is the safe keeper of a family’s memory! Help her treasure the magic of a moment forever!

She’s kissed our wounds, wiped our tears and held us tight. She has the ability to sense what we need when we need it. This year we’re putting  a little extra love into making Mother’s Day one to remember. This is what we’re giving (and hoping to get!)


1. Silhouette Cuff 2. Our Family Keepsake Necklace 3. Family Medallion Necklace 4. His and Hers Lucite Trays 5. Elegant Cell Phone Cases 6. Gold Foil Print


Enter  TREASUREMOM at checkout and receive 25% OFF your entire order at Le Papier Studio. Order by MAY 1st to receive by Mother’s Day. Offer expires April 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST and can’t be combined with other offers.

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Make it! Silhouette Easter Eggs.


With Easter around the corner, I thought it would be perfect to share this old-but-good little tutorial. Who thought silhouettes could appear on your Easter eggs too? Well they can, and it’s so very easy to do. Click HERE to follow the 3 easy steps. You are welcome!


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Coaching Sessions for April


Hi lovelies!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! We enjoyed some warm-er weather here and finally were able to have our first barbeque for the year. It sure feels refreshing to see the first signs of Spring.

I wanted to let anyone interested in booking a coaching session with me know, that I have one last opening available for the last week in April. At the present, I only offer 4 coaching sessions every month. So far, it’s been amazing working with a handful of crazy talented women in assisting them to move their business forward (will be sharing their testimonials here soon).

If interested, get in touch now.

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Introducing our Newest Jewelry Collections


I am thrilled to introduce our newest jewelry collection. Months of hard work, countless hours of sketching, prototyping and putting together the most elegant pieces, went into it. I am so happy with the way each new piece turned out.

Our new Pieces of Me silhouette jewelry collection offers a modern spin on the time-honored silhouette. Updated for today’s contemporary lifestyle, our jewelry pieces capture family memories in the most unique and elegant fashion.


Our Family Tree Collection allows you to commemorate your loved ones by wearing them close to your heart.

We could forget the pet lovers. Our Pet Jewelry Collection offers a truly unique opportunity for expression while making an utterly stylish statement. It is a phenomenal way to preserve and commemorate.


Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Make Mom happy with a custom piece she will treasure for ever!

Happy shopping!




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Celebrating 6 Years in Business + Giveaway Winners

Today I am celebrating 6 years of running Le Papier Studio. I’m not gonna lie to you, I feel a bit emotional thinking of all the struggles, challenges but also victories that made today possible. If you have a minute, I would like to take you down memory lane in the life of Le Papier Studio. I want to do this because it is important that you understand how my business has evolved over the years. Some of you might look at the pretty studio I work from right now and think I’ve been lucky – but it wasn’t always the case. It was those humbled beginnings that brought me to where I am today and I can’t be more grateful. Here we go…

My first “studio”…


My dear husband built this little corner out of our living room of our old condo. I was able to work a few hours each day while carrying for Nikolas (3 at the time). Look at the rest of the pictures here.

Than I updated to this…


Same space but as you can see I became a bit more organized with it. Added some IKEA bookcases and made the work area more appealing…Check out the rest here.

In 2010 I moved my studio outside the home.


It was my proudest and most terrifying business moment. As you can imagine, I had to take a leap of faith and trust I had made the best decision. And I had! Read about it here.

And finally, this is where I work from now…


With John’s birth in 2012 I decided to step back a bit and analyze. I decided to bring the business home again so that I could be with him just like I did when Nikolas was little. I don’t regret a thing. I feel so blessed to be where I am today and also be able to share all of these with you.

If you could take one thing away I would like it to be – follow your heart wherever it leads you. Your heart is what drives your passions in life, it will never lead you to the wrong path. If if leads you to a path you aren’t familiar with, trust it is for a special reason you may not fully understand at the moment, but it will be made clear to you as you continue along.

And now…for the giveaway winners.

Oh man, it was so hard to pick just one, so I HAD picked two!! I really wish I could pick all of you!  Your courage to step up and do what sets your heart on fire will take you far in life. You are already winners on my book – because you are already a step (or two) ahead or everyone else who is currently dreaming…You’re not just dreaming, you’re doing! I congratulate you for that!

The two winners I randomly picked are: Thuy Bui with Pinwheel Parcels and Sarah Steele from Drawing Sarah

Ladies, please get in touch with me (vana at lepapierstudio dot com) so we can schedule our coaching sessions.

Thank you again for entering this giveaway, and keep an eye out for more coming up. If you still would like to work with me, make sure to check out my Coaching services page. I would be completely honored to share my expertise with you!


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A Letter to my Almost 2 Year Old Boy


Dear John,

In a few days you will be turning 2! How did this happen, sweet boy? I remember being pregnant with you, than giving birth to you, celebrating your 1st birthday… it all seems like yesterday.

I look at you, the incredible little person you have become, special on your own way – you never cease to capture our hearts every single day. In less than a year you’ve gone from toddling to running and dancing. These are the days you develop almost too fast, faster than I can or want to process. You’re like a little sponge. You repeat every funny word you hear – I melt at the sound of your voice…especially when you add an “s” at the end of every word you say:) I’ve tried to make a mental picture of every stage of your sweet life and I’m not sure I have a favorite yet!

You’re the most neat toddler I’ve ever seen. You love sorting and putting toys away, you even clean up after your brother:) We joke at the fact that you and Niko can not be any more different:) You adore your brother! My heart feels so much joy when I see the two of you love each other so much. Keep it up!

You have such good manners. You thank us when we do something for you (like filling up your sippy cup or changing your diaper). You love looking at books and flip those pages with such curiosity. I love seeing you do that! I hope that you continue to love reading even when you grow up.

You’ve taught me so much these past 2 years, John.  Thank you for inspiring me to let some things go in order to spend more time with you. Thank you for helping me slow down and take time to enjoy the little things that bring us joy. Thank you for making our family complete and giving me the absolute joy of being your mama.

Happy almost 2nd birthday, precious angel!

I love you so much!



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Giveaway | One Free Business Coaching/Mentoring Session


In a few days I will be celebrating 6 years of running Le Papier Studio. Throughout the years I’ve had the honor to work with some amazing mentors who have helped me move my business ahead. It has been my personal goal to inspire and help women entrepreneurs achieve their goals in running successful businesses while making time for their loved ones. To celebrate this major achievement I will be giving away 1 (one) Business Coaching/Mentoring Session to 1 (one) lucky winner valued at $150. You don’t have to have a business to benefit from this giveaway. Actually, if you are still working on your business idea and are hoping to make it happen soon, this giveaway is your chance!


1. Leave a comment below briefly telling me about your business or business idea and how would you benefit from this free coaching session.

For Additional Entries:

2. Leave a comment below with the link to your Facebook comment on this FB post

3. Leave another comment below with a link to your Facebook Share of this FB post.

4. Leave another comment below with a link to your tweet about this giveaway.

5. Leave one last comment below with a link to a pin of any of your favorite images from this blog or our website.

(Please note these additional entries will allow me to keep track of all your sharing, so enter them diligently. Thank you!)

Giveaway ends on March 18th at 12:00 AM EST. The winner will be announced here and all social media on March 20th.

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DIY | Silhouette Bookcase Backing + Freebie


So excited to be sharing this fun tutorial with you guys!

As you know, I recently completed my new home office. Amongst other projects, adding a backing to my ikea Expedit bookcase was one of my favorites. I loved the balance we created between the black and white walls  and wanted to continue that same idea with the white bookcase (because a white bookcases against a white wall doesn’t cut it!) Eventually, adding a pretty backing came to mind. There are so many choices. You can go with fabric, stenciled pattern, wallpaper etc. I decided to create my own wallpaper utilizing silhouettes – and what better than using my own family’s silhouettes. If you like the look of this bookcase, you can decorate yours in no time.

For this project you will need:

  • the printed silhouette wallpaper (for a 4×4 Expedit bookcase you will need 16 sheets of the downloadable wallpaper – one per each opening)
  • a large format printer (I highly recommend you send the file to Kinkos so they can do the printing for you – it will cut down the prep time and is cheap)
  • masking tape
  • scissors


This project can take anywhere from 1-2 hours.

First and foremost, remove all the items off the bookcase. It will make it easier for you to maneuver. You will need to work on the back side of the bookcase. Begin by taping each sheet of wallpaper against each opening/square (Tip: cut down the wallpaper to 14×14 inches – or even better, if you get them printed at Kinkos have them do this for you).

This step will go fast – just continue one row at a time. Tape all 4 sides securing each sheet against the opening. Once you have taped all 16 sheets, you are ready to move the bookcase against the wall and start putting your items back on it.

Sorry, no pictures of the process. I was too excited to do this, I didn’t even think about taking them.


Click HERE to download the free silhouette wallpaper. Have fun with it and make sure to share pictures. You can tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

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