Tracy Ewell, owner of Tracy Ewell Cosmetics and Skincare (5500 Magazine St., 269- 8490; www.tracyewell.com), offers both. With years of experience in high-end cosmetics retail and as a makeup artist in cosmetics shops as well as for television and print productions, Ewell has meticulously assembled a range of product lines that are exclusive to her boutique and adds her own touch of magic to makeup application.
"I love what I do, because I re-establish security in a woman," says Ewell, who has added experienced makeup artist Aimee Stuit to her staff. "We're not about overkill. How we apply makeup depends on the person, their personality and what they're doing at the time." Not everyone has the freedom or luxury of time to go through an extended beauty regimen each day but may want pointers or help with applying cosmetics for a special event. Ewell and Stuit say they have tips for both circumstances.
"We try to find out from people what their lifestyle is," says Stuit. "We can give you a five-minute routine or a 25-minute routine, depending on what works for you."
Ewell, who opened her boutique inside Mimi's clothing store in March, says she also likes to show customers how to use cosmetics to add some drama or convey a different mood than usual. "That's the fun," she says. "I've looked 100 different ways my whole life. I'm still reinventing myself."
In selecting products for her boutique, Ewell says she looks for anti-aging and nutritive skin care products and cosmetics developed by working makeup artists. One of her new lines is Caudalie Skincare, French products formulated from the seeds of grapes grown in the Bordeaux region. "It's the most powerful antioxidant, exceeding vitamins C and E," Ewell says of the grape extract. "(Caudalie does) a full range of products, from body to hair." Lorac, a backward spelling of developer and makeup artist Carol Shaw's first name, cosmetics were developed to give natural-looking coverage without harming or choking the skin. "I got the line because it has great color and great foundation," Ewell says. "It's all fragrance-free and oil-free and has won 'best oil-free foundation' in Allure magazine for 10 years." Other brands include Sue Devitt Studio, Tarte and Linda Cantello, St. Tropez self tanner and Jing-Jang ointment.
She carries a variety of lines, because a person's skin and cosmetic needs are as individual as their face. "We want to be able to cater to everyone," she says. "No one line is a one-all, be-all -- I know because I've worked with so many lines. We use these lines when we go out to (apply makeup) for fashion shows, magazine covers, etc. I buy it and I use it myself."
Part of what makes Ewell's business different is its location inside the upscale Mimi's women's boutique, which also houses a hair salon, making it possible for a customer to come in, buy an outfit, have her hair styled and makeup applied and be ready to attend an event when she walks out of the store.
"We love being in this environment because there's fashion all around, and it's high fashion," Ewell says. "This is my life and this is what I love. Sometimes all a person needs is a $15 lipstick to make them feel better."
Jazz It Up
Windsor Court Hotel (300 Gravier St., 523-6000) has added music to the elegant surroundings, drinks and light dining fare at Le Salon in the hotel's lobby. Hot, local contemporary jazz musicians take the stage at Le Salon nightly from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight. There's no cover charge for patrons who listen while enjoying food and drink.
Le Salon features informal dining but rich choices such as brie and oyster terrine, smoked salmon and steak tartare. The restaurant also is known for its signature champagne cocktails such as the Windsor Rose, a mixture of champagne, cherry liqueur and rose water, and the Price William, champagne spiced with Poire William, as well as a full range of wines, cordials and premium liquors.
Jewels and Liquid Gold
Mary Viola Walker (834 Julia St., 558-9688) plans to bring a bit of holiday cheer to customers at her self-named gallery -- literally -- with champagne shopping for the holidays. The shop will offer champagne, wine, light lunch and hors d'oeuvres to shoppers from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Nov. 20. The shop also will provide complimentary gift wrap and drawings for coupons worth from 10 percent to 50 percent in discounts during the special events.
Walker, a local artist and designer, offers home decorating accessories, art and her own lines of pearl and semi-precious stone jewelry at her gallery in the Warehouse District.