Fall to Winter Gardening

Fall to Winter gardening – Part 2

Fall flower gardening for your home entryway with beautiful Autumn colors and large planters, perfect for any front door arrangement.

Have you always wanted to plant Fall flowers but didn’t know how? Join rookie gardener, Meredith Boyd as she walks you through a simple and easy do it yourself tutorial for planting Fall flowers (annuals) and plants in the Southeast area of Atlanta, Georgia!


Planting Fun and Easy Fall Flowers and Plants with Autumn Colors for the Beginner Gardener- DIY

Have you always wanted to plant Fall flowers but didn’t know how? Join rookie gardener, Meredith Boyd as she walks you through a simple and easy do it yourself tutorial for planting Fall flowers (annuals) and plants in the Southeast area of Atlanta, Georgia!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Fall flower gardening for your home entryway with beautiful Autumn colors and large planters, perfect for any front door arrangement.

A day in the life of a makeup artist behind the pageant makeup chair

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Cara Mund, Miss America 2018, is Meredith Boyd’s client. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions

A Pageant Makeup Artist on Mascara Tears and Mink Lashes

As Miss USA gears up, a makeup artist and former contestant reveals what happens behind the scenes at pageants.

Meredith Boyd holds 12 pageant titles, including having two top-five national finishes under her belt. Now, 20 years after her first pageant, she is a go-to makeup artist and hairstylist for contestants in the Miss America and Miss USA pageant systems. (The Miss USA competition, which airs Monday night, is run by the Miss Universe organization, formerly owned by Donald Trump.)

There’s a thriving pageant mini economy, including a tight-knit network of pros who work with contestants behind the scenes. Boyd is one of these, though she also has a robust business working with celebrities, brands, and brides. Last year’s Miss America, Cara Mund, was a client of Boyd’s.

Makeup artist Meredith Boyd poses next to 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell, who is wearing a tiara.
Meredith Boyd with Betty Cantrell, Miss America 2016.
Photo: Matt Boyd Photography

Boyd started competing in pageants herself in 1997 to earn some scholarship money for college after her dad was forced to retire from his job. She went on to a career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news in coastal Savannah, Georgia. After that, she transitioned to PR (“I was tired of making minimum wage and chasing the police scanner at midnight. I needed to pay my bills!”), before deciding that she wanted a career as a makeup artist a few years later. She even has an eponymous makeup line. Her first celebrity client was Jeff Foxworthy; she still works with the comedian.

Boyd has a roster of high-level pageant contestants, including 11 Miss Americas. Several contestants in this year’s Miss USA pageant took makeup lessons with her to prepare for the competition. Contestants come to her for makeup and hairstyling lessons, as well as to hire her and members of her five-person team to get them ready on competition days. Boyd is consistently one of the most highly rated artists on Pageant Planet, a resource for all things pageant.

In recent years, pageants have been accused of being anachronistic at best and exploitative at worst, a view not helped by last year’s Miss America scandal. After HuffPost published a trove of internal emails in which executives spoke about contestants in degrading terms, CEO Sam Haskell was forced to step down.

The New York Times reported this week that the pageant has replaced upper-level executives with three women, including Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and the former Fox anchor who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit that helped bring down Roger Ailes. While ratings are down for pageants, there is still an enthusiastic community of participants and viewers.

Boyd spoke to Racked on the phone from Georgia for a look behind the scenes of a system that is still an American institution.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Kara McCullough, Miss District of Columbia, winning the 2017 Miss USA title surrounded by other contestants.
Kara McCullough, Miss District of Columbia, winning the 2017 Miss USA title.
 Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

What is a typical pageant look?

You really need to look like your headshot. That’s something I really impress upon these girls. Whether you’re having someone do your makeup or you learn, you’ve got to look like your picture. When you walk into an interview, the judges need to be overwhelmed with, “Wow, that’s exactly what I was expecting.” It’s meeting and then exceeding their expectations.

[There will be clients who have trendier signature looks], but part of it is transitioning to a more classic look. For me, that’s part of the mentoring for that client. I can’t tell you how many state boards have approached me and said, “Get rid of that,” and, “Make her stop that.”

I want my clients to look back at their pictures 10 years from now and say, “Wow, I look hot,” instead of, “Oh, man, I shouldn’t have done this certain technique, what was I thinking?” You have to think about your judges. They may be in their 70s and one could be in their 20s. You want to look like you but not over the top.

Do you work with them for their headshots too?

I do. That’s something that evolved over time too. Two years into doing makeup, I conned my husband [Matt Boyd] into getting a camera. He was like, “Oh no, no, no, no, I don’t want to talk to these pageant moms.” And I was like, “Listen. I’ll do all the talking. You just do the technical part.” He was a graphic designer. Within two years, we shot our first Miss America, and now we’ve shot 10.

Meredith Boyd applies makeup to Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017.

Meredith Boyd applies makeup to Cara Mund, Miss America 2018.

Are there rules or guidelines regarding hair and makeup that are absolutely set in stone or understood?

There’s really no rule. It’s to just make sure that you look like yourself, first and foremost. You need to keep that branding consistent. If you constantly change things up, you’ll confuse the judges. What if there are 53 contestants onstage and you keep changing it up? You’re not doing yourself any favors. Your brand represents you, so that image is what you want to project, always. If you love a certain look, make that your look, but tweak it so it has appeal to a mass audience.

What appeals to a mass audience in 2018?

The classic look for 2018 is a smoky eye, a pretty pinky-nude lip, beautiful mink eyelashes. When Cara met with me last year in preparation for Miss America, she said, “Mer, these are the game changers, these mink lashes. They take you from ordinary to extraordinary.” [Note: Boyd sells 30 styles of lashes, all synthetic mink, silk, or sterilized human hair, and she says they are all cruelty-free.]

I know there are pageants where some contestants have to do their own makeup. How does that work?

Not every pageant allows the contestant to have someone back there doing their hair and makeup. Often they’re left on their own, or they’re smart and they have that practice ahead of time. For instance, Betty Cantrell — she was Miss America in 2016 — had five hair and makeup lessons with me. That year for Miss America, no one was allowed to touch them [during the competition]. Last year, I worked with Cara Mund, who’s the current Miss America from North Dakota. She flew here twice from Bismarck for hair and makeup lessons. I did her for her interview and prelims, but for the final night, she had to do it herself. There’s a little twist there.

The key is to keep their confidence up while they float out of my room onto the stage. Makeup carries over to the stage, that confidence. And that’s something that Cara said: “I couldn’t have done it without you. When I walked in, that confidence is what set the mood for my interview.” [Note: In that interview, Mund famously said that she thought President Trump was wrong to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord.]

Backstage at the Miss USA pageant in 2015.
 Photo: Lee Celano/Getty Images for Miss USA

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of conversations about whether pageants are appropriate. Especially with #MeToo and Times Up, they’re going to continue to be questioned. What are your feelings about this?

I do think that pageants are modern and relevant. There’s no other avenue for young women to cultivate interview skills, fitness, talent, and poise in any other sport. Pageants help women to create and pursue goals. Having a platform to be a role model and champion of social causes is the most rewarding thing about pageants in my opinion. I’ve been an advocate for the Arthritis Foundation since 1997. I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis since I was a teen and today I’m a national spokesperson, and I emcee all their national events annually.

I think connecting with others, opening your heart for compassion and empathy, helping others in need, and listening to their needs are qualities that are timeless. We have the ability to create positive change, inspire others, and empower one another. These are life skills that make pageants relevant and appropriate in every way.

Do the women come to you very specifically and say, “I like so-and-so’s style”? Kim Kardashian, for example, has been very influential in the makeup world.

I believe when reality TV exploded and became mainstream — Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Dancing With the Stars, and America’s Next Top Model were the top shows at the time — they crossed over into pageant audiences. Prior to that time, the go-to pageant stage look was a coral red lip or a dark spice shade with a neutral eyeshadow, with thin plucked brows, silvery shimmer under the brows, and gloss on the lips. The ultra-thick “Instagram brow” trend is fading as well as softer contouring, which is a welcome shift.

Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé are known for exquisite glam but natural looks. So I think that does translate well. We start at ground zero. A lot of young women don’t know what looks good on them because they don’t know their bone structure. They don’t know what eye shape they have, nor their shading and coloring. I had a client recently who was very fair but she was putting on warm tones instead of cool tones. So she was always questioning, “Why doesn’t the red lipstick work?” or “When I spray-tan, it looks orange.” It’s educating them on the basic color wheel and understanding how it all connects together.

How much does it cost to hire someone like you for a pageant?

That’s a tough question because everyone has different needs, whether they want a hair lesson or just a makeup lesson. If they want several lessons in a day, then it’s a day rate. If you want to fly someone out personally, that’s another day rate plus travel. I also do Skype. If you can’t come to me, I can come to you virtually or in person. Those rates vary, but I think at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that these are life skills and it’s a good investment. You’ll take these skills past pageantry. It’s not like the beautiful dress — are you going wear it [again]? You might. I hope so, because you spent a lot of money on it and you look fabulous in it, but the makeup artistry skills will really go a long way.

How long do contestants have to do their beauty looks backstage?

When the girls are there doing it themselves, they need at least 45 minutes to an hour to do both, and I suggest they put in their headphones and jam out to whatever they want so they’re not busy talking to other contestants. Some years at pageants, I’ve had 20 minutes to do a few contestants, and luckily, I have a tight glam squad that knows to get down when the time is right. I always establish what the looks are ahead of time.

What is the environment like backstage at pageants? Is it calm or is it chaotic?

It is extremely chaotic working backstage the day of. Sometimes you’re given a hallway, sometimes you’re given a grand ballroom, sometimes you’re given half of a storage room with bad lighting and no ventilation. And the electrical sockets start popping and breaking!

Laura Kaeppeler and her mascara win Miss America 2012.
 Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

What are some of the beauty brands you use?

I use my makeup line for the bulk of everything I do. But my go-to mascara is L’Oreal Voluminous in carbon black. I do not like waterproof, just because it’s hard as heck to get off and it irritates the eye area.

Can you use that on fake lashes? And what if they start crying?

They shouldn’t cry! [Laughs.] That’s a very good question. I take the mascara first and I coat up their lashes, then I apply the mink lashes. Never, ever put mascara on mink lashes. That’s like putting lotion on a mink coat. They should last 25 uses. If you know you might cry, put on the waterproof. It makes common sense. For finals, do waterproof if you feel like you’re going to lose it.

I mean, you see a lot of tears on the stage sometimes.

You do! I will never forget Laura Kaeppeler winning Miss America. There are pictures, and they are infamous. Bless her, that mascara was running down her face. But the thing was, that didn’t overshadow the enormous joy of how honest-to-god happy she was that she won. That’s what you live for when you watch a pageant. She really didn’t think she was going to win, and she won! Who cares what her mascara’s doing?

New year, new plan(ner)

Yes dolls I know.  It’s FEBRUARY! Still need a kick in the pants to stay organized? I feel ya! Are you striving to stay on time for anything in 2018? Here’s a product review of my new Life Planner by Erin Condren. Take a peek and let me know what you’re using this year to keep your life in the fabbb lane!

Love your lashes, love your lips, hope you win!



Top 10 Best Makeup Tips for 2018

Well folks, it’s here. 2018! WHAT THE WHAT?? I never thought I’d be blogging again (my old blog is about 7 years old) so as the old saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new!” My goal is to provide you fashionistas with loads of tips and inspo to keep your heart and faces happy. After all, it takes a village and I’m excited to have you be a part of my glam squad tribe. Want MORE free stuff? To sign up for free VIP only specials, click on the link on the right tab to sign up!

Okey doke, here’s my top 10 list of best makeup tips for 2018.

  1. Get organized. Hang on, I know what you’re thinking…Meredith what does this have to do with makeup? It has EVERYTHING to do with it!  If you are organized in everyday life, you’ll feel more confident and like the real lady boss you’ve always wanted to be and will be starting NOW. I purchased a new planner by Erin Condren and so far I’m slowly weaning myself off my old spiral bound notebook from Michael’s.  Hey, no judging it was a buck! Check out the video on my blog for more info on my new planner. Any planner works to accomplish the task of organizing your appointments and notes, I’m just super picky in general and if you know me you know what I mean.
  2. Mink lashes. Yes hon-ay!!  The minks is where it’s at. It takes your makeup look from ordinary to so EXTRA-ordinary! I couldn’t have said it better than Cara Mund, Miss America 2018. “Meredith Boyd Cosmetics mink lashes are game changers.” Welp folks. There you go. Miss America has spoken. To order yours, check out the SHOP tab on the right hand side of your screen.
  3. Self Tanner. That skin better be poppin’ even in winter, k?  A little glow goes a long way. Nothing better than getting a fresh spray tan. My secret is to only spray your face, neck and arms this time of year. It really gives the skin a boost of color and ladies of all skin tones, it will enhance your skin so it’s more vibrant and radiant.  Stay tuned for my favorite self tanner products in upcoming blog posts.
  4. Exfoliate. Head to toe doll, it better be squeaky clean. Did you really think self tanning in the winter was a good idea without exfoliating? Nope. Just no.  Okay here’s my lil’ trick o’roonie on getting rid of that old cocoon of skin you got growin’ on you. Take 1 cup of arm and hammer (heck, take the generic store brand and save a few cents) baking soda and 1 cup of REAL lemon juice. Mix and make a paste and smear it all over and wait. Jam out to your fav tunes for 10 minutes, call a friend (facetime from the neck up) or shop online…then hop in the shower and scrub all over with a loofa or exfoliating glove and watch that old stuff slide right off. It works! I’ll be doing a step by step post on this body treatment soon.
  5. Hydrate. Morning AND night my queens. Recently I’ve had a surge of clients tell me they are not using moisturizer. I totally get it. It’s so confusing and you may not even know why you need to use it. In order for your makeup to look fabulous, you must do three things. Wash your face with a good cleanser (not to abrasive) like Cetaphil or something gentle, then moisturize then use a primer before makeup. Now you can go really extra and after you wash use a facial serum then a moisturizer to lock it in. That combo is absolute skin magic. But if your skin is oily a serum is probably just enough hydration to keep your skin happy. Now, don’t neglect your skin at night.  That is when the repairing happens is while you sleep! Use a night cream after you wash your face and slather it on then hit the hay. Your skin will wake up plump, revived and radiant.
  6. Kissable Lips. Pucker up buttercup. Countless clients sit in my chair and apologize for having eaten up chapped lips this time of year. Mother pucker it hurts. It’s an easy fix. Here’s my go to pucker potion. Use 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Mix in a small bowl and apply to lips and scrub for 30 seconds. Wipe clean and use a lip balm to seal in your new kisser. I use Vaseline Lip Therapy. I also like Yes to Coconut Lip Oil and Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm too. Better get em’ ready for Valentine’s Day!
  7. The perfect pinky nude lip. Been searching for the best pinky nude lip? One that is not too pink and not too nude?  Keep reading sisters. This combo is the most popular of all lip looks for 2018. First start off with a lip liner. A lipliner is essential to keep the lipstick from moving outside the lines and you can even create a more plumped look by using lip liner just on the border of your natural lip line. The key is using a natural shade. Then apply a liquid lipstick and I love using two coats for a super rich look and top it off with a light sheer pink gloss. Wha-la!  Sexy lips for day and night. My go to lip set is “Cara’s Lip Trio” from Meredith Boyd Cosmetics.
  8. Primer. It’s just like painting…prime first then paint for a flawless result. First moisturize, prime then foundation. I love all kinds of primers. I have one in my own makeup line. I use several kinds depending on how my skin feels. Check out my friends at Camera Ready Cosmetics. They are the bomb.com. Right now I’m using Becca First Light Priming Filter. It’s purple so it awakens the skin for foundation.  Purple softens dullness. Yes please I’ll have another. And if you are super oily check out Becca Ever Matte Poreless Primer. It will shrink your skin up like a raisin so a little goes a long way.
  9. Mirror Mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all? YOU my loves!  What do you use to apply our makeup? If you’re not blessed with the abundance of natural light my go to lighted table side mirror is by ihome found at Bed Bath and Beyond.
    Listen to your favorite music while you prepare for the day by using the iHome Portable Double-Sided Vanity Mirror. This distortion-free mirror features two different magnifications and connects to your mobile device to play music using Bluetooth. The best part is it’s so easy to pop in a suitcase and charge up. Once charged it stays lit for two days! And when you sign up for BB&B you get a 20% off coupon, use the coupon and save! Cha-ching!!
  10. Tools. Are you still using that old applicator from your eyeshadow container? Stop. Right. There. The right brushes are the key to helping you create a beautiful look every time. Investing in a good set of brushes is essential to helping you become a makeup artist on our own face. From foundation, blush, contour, concealer, lip, brow, eyeshadow and more Meredith Boyd Cosmetics has you covered with it’s 15 Piece Pro-Brush set.

Love your lashes, love your lips, hope you win!



Welcome to the blog!

It’s official…I joined the blogging bandwagon! I never thought I’d be blogging again (my old blog is about 7 years old) so as the old saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new!” My goal is to provide you fashionistas with loads of tips and inspo to keep your heart and faces happy. After all, it takes a village and I’m excited to have you be a part of my glam squad tribe. Want MORE free stuff? To sign up for free VIP only specials, click on the link on the right tab to sign up!

Love your lashes, love your lips, hope you win!




My favorite things for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all are having a fabulous start to your new year! It seems like the holidays flew by and now we are in full on pageant season. Which brings me to a few of my favorite things for 2018!

Limited quantities remain of Meredith Boyd Cosmetics Savage and Cara mink lash styles.  To get your hands on them before they are gone!

To complete your new look for 2018, finish with Meredith Boyd Cosmetics Cara’s lip trio. A beautiful pinky nude lip liner, liquid lipstick in nude and a soft light pink lipgloss.

Check out Rocky Boyd on Instagram at @TheRockyBoyd


Love your lips, love your lashes, hope you win!