Holiday Party Dream Team


We all have holiday parties to get ready for, but who actually has the time to do it? I found the perfect dream team one stop shopping for my holiday party ready visit at Mario Russo. This lovable duo, Tavi DelaRosa and Violet Furxhi can take you from plain Jane to gorgeous diva in no time!


I got to the salon at 11am and sat in Tavi’s chair. He had all sorts of armamentarium set up in a neat, orderly fashion IMG_3885

I came with a layer of primer and foundation on, just to give him a base, and I already knew my skin was good with these products, though if I had come bare skinned that would have been fine too, he had a bevy of supplies to match any skin tone. IMG_4043

Assistant Kerrie already knowing my favorite, promptly delivered a delicious decaf cappuccino, and who doesn’t love to sip on freshly made Nespresso when getting a beauty treatment?


This is how I looked before:


Argh! I hoped he could get rid of those horrid bags! One thing I noticed was my hair was looking quite fine. For day-old hair, it wasn’t half bad. I learned later from Violet that day-old hair was actually ideal for doing updo’s and styling for holiday parties. It’s like a French Stew (according to my photographer, Eric Jausseran), or a cured egg nog—it’s even better the next day!

Tavi started with the eyes.


He focuses his attention on the eyes because that is what people are drawn to. What’s that cheesy saying: “the eyes are the windows to the soul?” He didn’t say that. But I was thinking something like that. When discussing what was hot for holiday parties, Tavi said silvers, golds, and color with shimmer. He asked me what colors I liked and if I preferred smoky eye or natural eye. Of course I am drawn to smoky eye, it’s my signature look, and I feel like it’s a nod to my dear friend Marilyn Riseman. She was the doyenne of smoky eye. Tavi likes to build your whole look based on what you decide on for your eyes. We decided on blues because that would bring out my brown eyes.


It’s also about layering. Tavi layered on several different colors from the palette to create this deep smoky charcoal blue color on my lid.


**Notice Tavi’s pinky finger reaching out for my cheekbone? That is a key element of a talented makeup artist (and a great dentist). Stable finger rest on face. It helps you steady the hand to achieve a precise application. Here he is finishing my eyes off with a touch of shimmer to keep with the holiday trend. Then he lined my eyes with a brown Chanel eyeliner IMG_3889

Brown eyeliner with blue eyeshadow works very well for brown eyes. To complement the blues and browns, he stuck with a mixture of rose and peach blush


and brushed it across the apples of my cheeks IMG_3972

The lips were last, convenient because I was sipping my cappuccino the whole time. He reached for this gorgeous shimmery gloss from Julep


The shimmer in the gloss also matched the Holiday Party shimmer trend but the theme of the session was definitely layering. I had already come in with amplified eyelashes, but he suggested layering on more. I am always game for thicker and longer eyelashes, who isn’t? So he went ahead and did his magic. IMG_3929

A little trick that I learned from Tavi is to use a cool blow dryer and diffuse it with your hand to help set the eyelash glue faster and stronger.

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Voila! I was done and makeup ready! IMG_4058

            Next I headed to Violet’s chair. She already had some ideas about what she wanted to do. IMG_4147

Holiday is all about braids this year, and deconstructed updos. Sounds like a crazy oxymoron. I came in with day old hair as I mentioned before– this is the key to a successful updo. The texture of the hair allows for better styling. Nonetheless, Violet started prepping my “day old hair” with a curling iron.  IMG_4089

Her concept was a cascade of braids. Prep also involved a flat iron. IMG_4098

After prepping the hair with curls and mousse, she started the first braid on the upper half of my crown.


Now Violet’s no newbie, recently she got a great review in Boston Common Magazine as the top Primp person to go to which I noticed neatly framed on her station.


So it’s no surprise that braiding came with extreme ease for Violet. Something I remember practicing in front of my childhood mirror with another mirror in hand– pausing and ripping it out a dozen times before ending up with a lumpy mess on my head–nothing like what you are seeing below…    IMG_4144IMG_4149details of the upper braid.

IMG_4153details of finishing the lower braid.

And here are some details of the finished product:


I wore a cute plaid button down shirt that I got from Intermix (at the #msfitforsociety for Tedy’s Team event), because the last time I came in for an updo, I had a turtleneck on, which we all know is a no-no for updos–because who can get the thing over their head without messing up their hair?

Here’s my finished look! My holiday hair of cascading braids and my smoky shimmer makeup was picture perfect for the Burberry Holiday Party hosted by the Bernons to benefit Berkshire Hills Academy, thanks to my dream team Violet Furxhi and Tavi DelaRosa of  Mario Russo!

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Special thanks to my photographer Eric Jausseran.


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This article also appeared on my StyleBoston Blog!

by Tonya Mezrich