Why I Love Living in the South

Why I love the South


I’m excited to announce that Embracing Beauty was recently voted as one of the Top 25 Southern Mom blogs.  After I received my reward I was asked to participate in an interview with them.  It was fun to be interviewed and I wanted to share one of the questions from the interview with you.  I was asked “In what way is the South unique from other places you’ve lived or traveled?”


*Preface- I know that some or even all of these things are true in other parts of the country/world.  I meant no offense to anyone or any region.*


Here’s my answer:


In one word “atmosphere” is why I love living in the South. This atmosphere is unique and charming. It’s probably impossible to adequately describe the atmosphere but I’ll give it my best shot!


I live in the South because I want:
– my kids to value manners and their elders
– to live in a place where I can hear a wooden screen door slam shut
– to lay outside at night and see a blanket full of stars
– to hear crickets and watch fireflies
– to see women with teased hair and sun dresses
– to see men in overalls and cowboy hats
– to hug people I just met
– to smell honeysuckle so strong I can taste it
– to feel the ground beneath my feet
– to eat blackberries off the vine
– to drink Cheerwine and RC
– to fall asleep on a porch swing listening to the birds
– to hear banjos and fiddles
– to go for a walk and leave my door unlocked
– to actually know my neighbors
– to not be the only woman who brings a homemade cake to a get together
– to see spray painted graffiti on rocks and water towers
– to drive past walls of beautiful kudzu covering the landscape
– to let my kids swim in a creek and learn how to fish.


If you live in the South, why do you love it?  Or if you live anywhere else, tell us what you love about that area.

Jonathan Gale’s Interview with Embracing Beauty

Jonathan Gale


I am so excited to share with you an interview I had with a TOP hair colorist!  Johnathan Gale is a colorist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in LA.  He was even voted US Magazine Hair Colorist of the Year!  Johnathan Gale is a master of the art of hair coloring.  He has had a successful career in both the UK and the US that includes high fashion editorials, high publicity advertising and celebrity clients.  Johnathan has worked on advertising for Versace, L’Oreal, Calvin Klein, and Prada.  He works with the likes of Charlize Theron, Diane Keaton, Keri Russell, Ben Stiller, Brad Pitt, Meg Ryan and Jennifer Garner.  How incredible is it that he took time to have an interview exclusively for you?



1. What is a day in the life of Jonathan Gale like?


I am a morning person. The sun rises, the light shows up and I’m ready for action. I have a lot of well-being intentions I start with when I wake. I sleep really well and like to remind myself to be of service and of deep gratitude for this life.


I love to walk often and hike in Runyon Canyon. I also like to just walk in my neighborhood then go work out at the gym.  Stretching is key I have found.


I like to start work early. I am at the salon by 8:30am just as the staff begins laying flowers atop the pool within the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon. I’m big on breakfast and begin thinking about lunch as soon as I’m done. If I’m en route to the airport or going to be on set or at the salon, I’m always looking for healthy food, juices and treats. I find that if I eat right, I’ll have energy for days.


I work in the salon four days a week. My first appointment might be with Debi Mazar, following by an afternoon with Amber Valetta. By the time Jennifer Love Hewitt or Ellen Pompeo comes in, the salon is really busy. All the actresses know each other, it’s a lot of fun and it almost feels as if I’m on a set.


Because it’s award season, it’s a particularly busy time of year because everyone is making sure they look their best for walking the red carpet.


I also spend a lot of time in communication with directors, making sure the characters these actresses are playing are going to be expressed correctly on screen.


I like to cram a lot into my days right now. I’m learning to play guitar and spending time with a composer, creating some joyful meditation music which is so much fun. I study well-being and am constantly learning how to express, create and play. My clients benefit from my playfulness.


All of this is what makes my days and my career so much fun.


2. How did your career begin in the world of beauty?


My career began at home, from my sister to all the neighbors on the street. From the age of 14, I was captivated by transforming the people around me. My first job in hair was at when I was 18 years old as an apprentice for Daniel Galvin and Jo Hansford in London Mayfair.


3. As one of the top color artists in the business, are there any celebrities whom you would still like to work with that you haven’t as of yet?


Madonna. I have some great ideas for her. I also really enjoy working with artists, so there are plenty people I would love the opportunity to create with.


4. What are some common hair mistakes that women make?


In my opinion, the biggest mistake women make is going too light. They just decide they’re bored with their color, decide to be another color and don’t take into consideration their eyebrow tone, their skin tone, eye color, eye setting, etc.


Instead, I like to make sure they get what they want by still achieving that light “feeling” without doing the standard light all over coloring. I take an artist’s approach. I like exotic features, therefore I like to enhance these modalities. Instead of changing someone, I like to take someone’s authenticity and just “bump it up a bit.”


5.  What are your top suggestions for treating damaged hair?


The first thing you must do when treating damage hair is deal with the water you’re washing with. Buy a filter for your shower–your health will benefit also. This will help remove the harsh chemicals from your water and keep your hair in amazing shape.


The other suggestion for treating damaged hair is the realization that is takes a lot of effort. There is a myriad of products out there…get and use whatever you can find. Use them twice a week, be consistent, and your hair will benefit.


6.  What do you suggest Embracing Beauty readers do to achieve the perfect frizz-free look everyday?


I love John Frieda’s arsenal of anti-frizz products. I also love Rene Furterer’s Fioravanti leave in detangler.

Damone Roberts’ Interview with Embracing Beauty



I was fortunate enough to be able to get an interview with Damone Roberts, celebrity beauty therapist and undisputed “Eyebrow King.”  *Squeal with joy!*  Here’s the interview:


1. EB: Hi Damone! My name is Ashley and I represent EmbracingBeauty.com which is an ultra cool blog (if I do say so myself) *patting back*.  Congratulations on being the new spokesperson for THELOOKBAG.com!  Does this mean that you’ll choose the selection of what goes into each and every bag?


Damone:* I’m thrilled to be the face of TheLookBag.com because I actually have a say as to what goes into each & every bag. I’ve been a makeup artist for many years, while working on some of the world’s most famous faces & I deal with women on a daily basis in my New York or Beverly Hills’ Salon. There are always new products that someone is telling me about & now I have the opportunity to share them with women all over the world.


2. What is a day in the life of Damone Roberts like?


*My life changes constantly due to the industry I am in, but typically a day in the life of Damone Roberts starts @ about 7:00 A.M with me laying in the bed staring @ the ceiling for a good 30 minutes. I find I think clearly in this tranquil state and literally will go through my entire day & always end it with giving thanks for entering a new one. Next is some type of workout either with my trainer, hiking or a bike ride. Coffee/breakfast while checking emails, before heading into the Salon. I usually take my meetings during lunch & end most days with a conference call between The DR Team.

3. I’ve read that each month, THELOOKBAG will contain 5 luxury beauty samples but I’m curious, are the samples are big enough to use more than once?


*That is actually something I really want to stress to your readers. I think people get confused when they here “testers”. These are not a little packet that can be used only once. We give you a travel size component that you can use for a few weeks to really find out if it works for you. One would easily pay $10.00 for one or two of these items, but we are giving you five samples monthly.


4. As one of the top beauty artists in the business, are there any celebrities whom you would still like to work with that you haven’t as of yet?Megan Fox note

*I’ve been fortunate that I’ve worked with so many celebrities. Imagine growing up with posters of Madonna on your wall & then you get a phone call from her saying she hears you are the best & she needs to experience what everyone is talking about. I remember the 1st time I was introduced to the iconic Diana Ross & she said to her friend “I know who he is…I use his products”. Beyonce sitting in the waiting room with everyone else patiently waiting for her appointment, or Megan Fox telling me “I make her feel beautiful”. The list goes on and on! It has been a tremendous journey & I’m just thankful & excited for the next chapter.


5. How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from other makeup artists?


*My signature look is a full defined brow with a carefully blended makeup application. I don’t like to see lines in the eyeshadow or blush. I’m also not afraid to use colors, but they need to flow into one another to create one beautiful  look. I’m confident in my artistry & if I had to choose one word to describe it, that word would be flawless!


6. What is the most memorable moment you have had while doing a celebrity’s makeup or eyebrows?


*The other day I was taking care of Robert Downey Jr & we were talking about the movies of the last year. Him & his wife Susan have been clients for a long time & we all have become quite fond of one another. We both consider ourselves artist at heart & always share music, movies and things of that nature. We decided to write down our top 3 films of 2011 and then give the list to one another. The list was the EXACT same in the EXACT same order. Another fun story is when I went to the house of a huge A list actress to shape her brow’s. I was packing up my kit afterwards to leave and as I turned around, she was completely nude laying on the table with her legs up in the air. I asked her what she was doing and she replied I figured since you were here, you could just do my bikini as well. Needless to say that did not happen!


7. What is the most important piece of beauty advice that you can give to women?


* The most important beauty advice I would give to women is never negate the power of a good brow & always take off your makeup before going to bed!


8. What are some common beauty mistakes that women make?


*Women tend to get stuck in the same routine. I have found that women generally will keep the look that worked for them when they felt most attractive. The problem is styles change & products are constantly evolving. This is another reason why TheLookBag.com is so exciting…you can stay alert to what is new in the industry.


9. Do you feel that looking and feeling beautiful is important in regard to a woman’s confidence and self-esteem?


*I think that when you look good, you feel good! It really is that simple. Obviously if you have low confidence or self esteem you are not going to give your best, but the part I like the most of working in my salons is when women walk in with heavy shoulders & their head down, & then leave 15 minutes later with their chest out, flinging the hair & glossing their lips. When you look good…you feel good!

10. Do you feel that you have achieved all of your goals as a successful makeup artist?

Damone Roberts Opi
* The journey has been great, but I have learned to never put a lid on a dream. When “US Weekly” named me the #1 thing that Hollywood can’t live without (before the Cartier Roadster or The Bentley), I thought I had truly arrived. Then I found out I was a question in the board game Trivial Pursuit, after that OPI named a nail polish after me. Next I was a question on the game show Jeopardy & just a few weeks ago they did a sketch on me for The TV show 2 Broke Girls. I also did The TLC TV series “10 years younger” for 3 seasons. I’m actually very excited to enter the next chapter.

11. Who are some people that have inspired you throughout your career?


* I’ve been inspired by so many & am smart enough to be a sponge when exposed to certain people or situations! I’ve been alone in the room with Madonna & observed how her business mind works. I’ve had one on one conversations with Oprah & observed her kindness, even when no camera’s or others were around to see it. Once I was flown on a private plane by a bank to take care of “The 50 Wealthiest Men in America’s” wives for a palatial, relaxing weekend. The bank does this yearly as a sign of gratitude for the members banking with them. I took care of the wives makeup & brow’s while the guys were golfing, but believe me whenever it was lunch or dinner I had my list of questions out for these guy’s. I know money does not bring happiness, but what inspires me is the people who take a idea or talent and turn it into success.


12. What products do you think should be a staple in every woman’s purse?

clear brow gel


*No women should ever be without some type of gloss to keep her lips moist. Lastly you need Damone Roberts Clear Brow Gel. This keeps the hair upward, while opening the eyes. Two absolute essentials!

13. What do you suggest Embracing Beauty readers do to achieve the perfect everyday look?


*You need to start with a good brow! It frames the face, while adding balance & structure. I also recommend taking some of those powder papers to blot up excess oil throughout the day. Pressed powder can work as well, but can also build up on the skin if used too much. A nice tinted moisturizer can become a girl’s best friend & we all love a strong mascara.


14. How did your career begin in the world of beauty?


*I studied art for a period @ Rutgers University on a scholarship. Interestingly enough I got the scholarship off of  a drawing I did of Diana Ross that won 1st place in a nationwide contest, so you can imagine what a full circle moment it was for me to meet her years later & have her say she’s a fan of my products. In school I learned how to blend & sculpt while emphasizing certain features, while hiding others. I literally just took all the skills I learned from painting on paper, to painting a face. The first company I worked for where I was able to show off my makeup skills was Fashion Fair & then of course M.A.C!

Interview with CEO of Faithful Fish, Chelsea Eubank

A few days ago I was on a small conference Q and A call with Chelsea Eubank of Faithful Fish Clothing and I just want to share with you a little bit about her and her ministry.  This amazing woman of 23 years has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Extraordinary Teens, a guest on the Dave Ramsey show (my dream!), featured on Fox & Friends, and numerous other TV and radio spots.  I felt blessed to have the opportunity to talk with this passionate young woman!  She has been through so many hardships in her life yet she has trusted God and grew because of her experiences.  She is the CEO of her own Christian clothing line and recently she has started the Wear It Wednesday movement where more than 500,000 young people signed up!  This is an amazing little idea that has grown wildly.  I encourage you to check out Wear It Wednesday and her clothing line, Faithful Fish.

Chelea and Tim Gunn

Chelsea with Tim Gunn from “Project Runway”

Here is a little interview I had with Chelsea after the conference call.

Where did you come up with the name faithful fish? Because Faithful Fish’s trademarked logo is such an iconic Christian logo I guess the word fish just had to be in the name.  Then I was running and kept thinking of names that went with fish and  the bible verse about “Fishers of Men” popped into my head,  I could actually feel the light bulb go on.  Now I can’t even imagine having another name.

What has been the hardest thing to overcome when starting your own business? The vision to provide a bChristian Teeranded Christian logo’d clothing line that expresses the customers positive values and lifestyle doesn’t resonate with everyone and trying to market a Christian clothing line has been a big disadvantage in the retail store space.  Stores are concerned that if they bring in a faithful line they will offend other customers.   But I have a vision a BIG vision, a HUGE vision and I truly believe that we are ready to have a Christian clothing line that can compete with secular clothing lines like Ralph Lauren or a company like American Eagle.  It just seems that we need a line that represents our positive values.  So to actually answer your question just to keep being positive even when things aren’t going as quickly as you want them to.

What keeps you motivated to do what you do? It is so much fun and I also get to work with people who are just as jazzed as I am about being faithful.  Faithful Fish also gives a portion of all sales to charities so that is a true motivator.  I also believe that we are offering something that is not in the market place and Faithful Fish is meeting a need.

If you could tell my readers one thing what would that be? From my personal experience of losing my Dad on the phone with me when I was 17 and then losing 3 family members within 5 months of each other I know that God doesn’t do these bad or tragic things to us but that he helps us through these hard times.  He held my heart when it was broken and didn’t let the pieces fall to the ground.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Fruit of the Spirit.  I love that it talks about all of God’s positive values.  So many people say that Christians don’t want this or don’t like that but The Fruit of The Spirit shows all of the positive values that God represents and wants for us.  (Gal. 5:22-23)

Okay, and a question for me…what was it like to meet Dave Ramsey? : ) He is so very nice and a believer like us.  After talking his “Financial Peace” course I also felt that he truly has a calling to help people in their lives in a very relevant way.    He helps people become good stewards. To then be able to be on his TV show and his radio show really was a miracle.

Thank you again Chelsea for your time!  God Bless!!