How Our Girl Evelyn Balances Motherhood, Baking, & Staying Sane in a Pandemic
Evelyn Garcia has been a dear friend to designer Larissa ever since they bonded in high school. Their lifelong friendship transitioned into a successful working relationship, where Evelyn would do the makeup for all sorts of Muehleder fashion shoots, but when the pandemic hit she was hit with a new reality that most people also faced. She was out of a job. With her two kids counting on her she went into this period of lockdown looking for a new way to stay busy by teaching herself how to bake and starting her own sweet business.
I chatted with the master baker, beauty guru, and multitasking mama about her new business, favorite beauty essentials, and how she seamlessly balances it all. Suffice it to say, after speaking with her, I feel so much more motivated to accomplish anything that I set my mind to.
All About Beauty
Tell us about how you got started as a makeup artist and your experience in the beauty world.
So, my story starts when I was graduating from high school. I didn't get accepted into FIT, so I was very heartbroken about that because we went to a fashion high school. I did get accepted to John Jay [College of Criminal Justice in New York], totally out of my league, so I was like, 'OK, I guess I'll go to John Jay to make my parents happy.' So I was in John Jay, and I was like super miserable because I just hated like anything that had to do with criminal justice, and I was like, ‘You know what, I can't do this anymore, I have to do something that I'm passionate about,’ so I thought, ‘OK, I always liked makeup.’ I was randomly looking up makeup schools and I found this school called Makeup Designery [in New York City]. I decided I wanted to go there. I paid for the loans (my mother helped me with half) and while I was learning in makeup school, I was actually already working side-by-side with my makeup teachers. That was really cool. My first paid job immediately after graduating makeup school was at New York Fashion Week. I was really excited about that.
Oh wow, that's amazing! Is there one thing about that job that you'll always remember or learned?
Have a lot of patience! There are so many people with different characteristics that you just have to be patient with.
Shop Her Look:
So with makeup, what’s one must-have cosmetics product you have to have in your arsenal at all times?
Definitely a very good eyebrow pencil! My favorite is the Maybelline Brow Ultra Slim.
We definitely agree with you on that front! Also, what’s your go-to skincare routine?
So, my holy grail that I have right now — I use it as a concealer, a moisturizer, just everything, makeup remover — is from a brand called Living Libations. It's called the Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever. I just love this product because you can reset your skin with it. I use it everyday as a moisturizer, a night oil, and even a makeup remover. You can do anything with it.
Shop Her Look: Made You Look Dress $325.00
Is there one specific piece of advice you have for new makeup wearers who are looking to up their beauty routines?
My advice for anyone that's looking to get into makeup, if you want your makeup to look good, you should always invest in good skincare and drink a lot of water. Your skin is the most important part before you apply any makeup. And also, primer is always key, whether it be eyeshadow primer, makeup primer; that's always just going to give you a flawless look. And, you don't have to really invest in a lot of brushes because your hands are also your brushes. A lot of people think, 'Oh my god, I have to invest in big brands so my makeup can look good, like luxurious brands,' but you really don't. If you just do your research, you can find really good stuff for cheap.
She’s a Master Baker
Congratulations on just starting your new bakery! Can you tell us the story of how you came up with the name for “Penny & Jacks Confectionary” and why you decided to open it?
Thank you! So, Penny and Jack are the nicknames for my daughter and my son, Penelope and Jackson I was coming up with names... I thought, ‘What will look good as a sign if I was to open a bakery?’ Penny and Jack's just came to me, and I was like, ‘That's actually cute’ and it means something deeper because they’re my kids' names.
I started this whole bakery situation, because I just wanted to make a layered birthday cake for my birthday this year, and I then got really into it. I was like, ‘OK, I'm going to make this cake, I'm going to do all these little fondant decorations, gonna layer it.’ It took me the entire day of my birthday. You know, it came out cute, and I was really happy with the result for my first time doing a layered cake, and the rest is history because I did not know I was going to get so many orders. I'm booked every single week now. I guess it just comes from the creativity from my career in the makeup industry, I was also into art when I was younger, I loved painting, just anything hands-on.
Wow, what a story! Now, before starting up the shop, you started teaching yourself to bake in the midst of this pandemic. What was your driving motivation for learning a new skill in lockdown?
I was like, 'You know what? Money needs to be made, bills need to be paid. What can I do that I will enjoy just as I enjoy makeup?' Because no one was doing makeup, no one needed a makeup artist at this time. I'm all about hustle, always. I thought to myself, 'What is going to make me money but also bring me joy?’I did not want to do something if I was going to be miserable about it. Baking motivated me.
How long did learning to bake take you?
I made my first cake in May and I picked it up right away. I was researching YouTube. I started following a whole bunch of bakers, looking at ideas on Pinterest, and I bought a bunch of books. It took me a couple weeks to really get the gist of it.
Did you learn any other new skills during the quarantine?
Baking was my main focus. I also learned a couple braiding techniques to braid my daughter's hair, and yeah, that's about it.
Lol, how cute! For others looking to try new things during this lockdown period, do you have any tips to help them stay motivated when challenges arise?
I mean, what else is there to do? You're home, you know? That's like your best motivation, you're home, you have nothing else to do, how are you going to entertain yourself? How are you going to make the most of your day? And also, I feel like when you wake up and the first thing you do is wake up grateful for everything you have, even for just your hands to create, I feel like that sets the mood for how your day is going to be.
I like the sound of that! Now, since opening your baking business, what’s one thing you’ve learned about running your own business?
Do everything ahead of time. Don't do anything the day of. Write everything down; planning is key! And also, save all your receipts because, at the end of the day, this is a business, so you want to see what your expenses and your earnings are throughout the month and you just really want to tie that up and see how you're doing overall month-to-month.
A Busy Working Mom
As a mom, what’s parenting in a pandemic been like, especially as you balance it with work?
Challenging, to say the least. My 7-year-old daughter is the only one that's in school because I have a toddler too. I had to learn extreme patience with her… before, when the school's weren't even open, I just had to learn to be patient with her because there were days, sometimes everyday, that she didn't want to wake up. Halfway through the day she would give up and refuse to do her schoolwork. So, I said, 'OK, how do I get this kid back on track?' Meanwhile I was trying to run a business and bake these cakes...it was a nutcase in here. It was crazy! So, learning patience was key.
Would your daughter ever help you bake? Obviously, your toddler is probably a little young to help, but would Penny help you?
They help me eat it! They help me eat the leftovers. But yes, she always wants to get in on the action, and I do let her when it's just for family and it's not work specifically.
Haha that’s totally understandable! What’s one important lesson you’ve made sure to teach your kids?
I always tell my daughter, you need to be humble, you need to be grateful. Grateful and humble because you never know when life is going to hit you. Being thankful for what you have, always being kind, and having manners, that's my thing, always.
I like that message! So, this has been a stressful and challenging time, to say the least. What’s your favorite way to unwind?
Eating and watching Netflix. I have a favorite dish, which is pasta, like, I love pasta. I could eat it every single day! And right now, on Netflix my favorite thing to watch was Schitt's Creek that I just finished, and now I'm watching Girlfriends.
Do you have any plans of how things might change in a year?
I'm going to be 30, so what's going to change might be my whole perspective on life, and I wish the changes will be that we can be able to travel, but I don't know, as long as everyone's healthy at the moment, that's all that matters.
Interested in booking Evelyn to bake a custom cake? Send her a DM over on Instagram!