Beauty in the Burgh: featuring The KTHOM Beauty Boutique!

Where do I even begin?  Well it all starts about three years ago during a night downtown where I crossed paths with Kyle for the first time.  We engaged in conversation about occupation and various pleasantries upon meeting one another.  What stood out to me about Kyle was that he was especially outgoing and passionate about his occupation and aspirations in the world of esthetics.  I will interject this story by adding that I have been scouring the Pittsburgh area for a reputable (and affordable!) salon/med spa/esthetician to perform skincare services (such as chemical peels), at the time.  So obviously, his business venture to be an esthetician (with a focus on skincare) was of great interest to me!  Before the night ended, we both added each other on Facebook and went about our separate ways.  I perused through some of the services on his Facebook page, and stumbled across many glowing reviews.  Seeing many highly satisfied clients, I finally took the plunge and made the first step in a regular skincare routine (which was one of the best decisions, mind you).  Anyway, less about me and more about Kyle and The KTHOM Beauty Boutique!

Meet the man behind it all, the founder of The KTHOM Beauty Boutique:
Kyle Emert 

Kyle is a 26 year old Pittsburgh based Beauty Consultant and founder of The KTHOM Beauty Boutique.  He graduated from the North Hills Beauty Academy with a focus of Esthetics.  Kyle boasts quite an impressive résumé having worked as a makeup artist for both NARS and Sephora, a regional artist for Smashbox cosmetics, a senior consultant for NYR organic US, and currently as a product specialist for Arcona Los Angeles.  KTHOM Beauty was also featured in The Knot magazine with many raving reviews, which you can see here.  Through all of his education and experience, Kyle decided to delve into the world of esthetics, makeup artistry, and business headfirst to bring forth The KTHOM Beauty Boutique in November of 2013.  Kyle is an incredibly talented and determined entrepreneur with an artistic flair and an eye for trends in the beauty and fashion world.

Since the inception of The KTHOM Beauty boutique, their services and staff have grown at a fast rate, taking the Pittsburgh beauty market by storm.  Kyle offers quite an impressive range of services as well as products in The KTHOM Beauty Boutique.

Need someone for all things beauty on the “Big Day”?  The KTHOM Beauty Boutique is your go-to!




bride makeup

The whole deal! (Hair & Makeup)

hair and makeup

Do you need someone for your everyday beauty and skincare services?  The KTHOM Beauty Boutique boasts an impressive array of services!


These are only a few of the services that The KTHOM Beauty Boutique offers.  Check out more here.

Do you need gift-able items for this upcoming holiday season?  Look no further than The KTHOM Beauty Boutique online shop!

Here you will find:



Jewelry original


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…and let’s not forget Kyle’s love for handcrafted candles!


I cannot say enough good things about Kyle and The KTHOM Beauty Boutique.  I personally have had nothing but top notch service every appointment I make with him.  You truly will not find any professional AND affordable services like the ones offered by Kyle anywhere else in the Pittsburgh area.  He is a one of a kind, positive, and truly genuine person.  He always has the client’s best interest in mind.  It has been amazing to watch his business grow and reach it’s full potential over the past few years.  I know there will be many more exciting things happening in the years to come with The KTHOM Beauty Boutique at the pace it is going now.

Kyle also runs specials very frequently, and you can keep yourself posted on all of the events/specials/deals by subscribing to his newsletter here on the website.  You can also check out all of these services, products, and SO much more on The KTHOM Beauty Boutique website, and indulge yourself in all things beauty, skincare, and products alike!  Treat yourself and visit Kyle and his amazing team!  Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

The KTHOM Beauty Boutique Mission Statement:

“At KTHOM Beauty we constantly strive to give genuine and heartfelt service to all of our clients. Through consultations, recommendations, services and more. Whether you are looking for an outfit for the evening, a skincare treatment, a new makeup look or gift-able items, KTHOM Beauty is your one stop shop for everything.  With over 30 years of combined experience on the KTHOM team and in the beauty/fashion industry, we stay on trend with new techniques and modalities to bring you the best in beauty, always. Focusing on Organic and all natural skin and body, we give you the best of beauty, naturally.  Stop in for a custom makeup application, hair styling session or to pick up one of our seasonal hand poured soy candles!  With new specials every month you will always have a reason to cozy up in our boutique with a cup of our Organic local tea, a book from our shop, and indulge in a steam session or hot stone hand & foot massage.  At KTHOM Beauty we believe in simple and affordable luxury and that’s exactly why none of our prices are over $100, from regenerating Facials, Detoxifying Body Treatments, Brow Shaping and Spray Tans, we can not wait to show you why so many people love and recommend KTHOM Beauty to their friends and family for all things Beauty.”

*Disclaimer: None of these images belong to me*

Until next time,


Portraits 2.0

Recently I’ve been delving into photography and trying to build a portfolio of sorts.  I’m relatively new to the world of photography but I am still attempting to put myself out there and further my skills.  Once I properly learn about my camera and it’s various functions I feel I will be able to better execute the ideas in my head.  This session is my first real shoot aside from a few casual shoots with friends.  I recently did portraits for Brenda and John, and with their permission, I am posting a few of them for anyone (who is interested) to take a look at some of my work.  I hope you enjoy these photos and comments are always welcome!  All of these images were produced with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a 75-300mm lens.

If you like these photos be sure to follow my blog and/or instagram at aehvostal to take a look at some of my newest projects!

Adventure time @ The National Aviary!

Today is a lazy day and I figured I would get some practice taking photos, but this time with a new subject…the birds at The National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!  Enjoy these photos of all of the beautiful, exotic birds and read more about them on their website  All of these photos were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 with a Canon EF 75-300mm Telephoto Zoom Lens.  Here are my favorites!










Until next adventure!



Yesterday was a perfect day to take some portraits before the sun went down.  So I decided to practice with my beautiful best friend!  Hope you guys enjoy these photos.  All of these photos were taken with a Canon EF Lens 50mm.












Things I’m discovering as a 20-something.

Now I’m horrible at listening to my own advice.  I’m also horrible at listening to other people’s advice.  I’m a winner, I know.  That’s pretty much the point of this blog post. I discovered all of these things myself by trials and failures throughout 23 years.  Here are some recurring lessons in my life (and probably yours) worth noting as a 20-something. 

1.) You are not going to be good at everything you do–and that’s okay. 

2.) You are not always going to be okay, and that’s okay–just don’t stay in that place.  Have yourself a good ole fashion mental breakdown and then get back up and continue on with your life.

3.) If you are not happy in whatever path you are on–CHANGE COURSE. Don’t stay at your miserable job for the sake of familiarity.  You will never reach your full potential if you stay in your comfort zone.  As difficult as it was for me to leave both jobs of mine that I had a combined 8 years at, I finally let go to give myself better opportunities.

4.) If you are doing something–do it for you.  Be selfish.  Don’t go to school because your parents want you to or because everyone expects you to.  Don’t stay at your horrible job because your friend got you the job and you feel guilty.  Don’t be miserable because everyone puts their own expectations on you.  

5.) No matter how bad your day is–it won’t last forever.  The Hangover’s “But did you die?” comes to mind here.  Point being, no matter how much of a dumpster fire your day was, you didn’t die.  You might have been reamed at work by your manager or even a customer, but guess what?  You didn’t die.  A member at the country club I worked for once told me during a dinner rush (where I was particularly flustered):  “Will this [busy, stressful night] matter two years from now?”  It entirely changed my perspective on the situation.

6.) If you have to have a pissing contest with your friend, are they really your friend?  Real friendships are mutually supportive and beneficial.  They are not based on constantly trying to one up each other.  I’ve fallen into this false friendship several times in my life.  A true friend wouldn’t purposely try to make you feel lesser than for any reason. 

7.) Most of us are hypocrites at some point in our lives.  Sometimes we don’t always practice what we preach.  The most simplistic example I can think of is when my grandma used to tell my cousins, my sister and I to never smoke, but smoked herself.  Keep in mind that sometimes people do one thing and say another because they don’t want you to fall onto the same path they chose.  Sometimes they don’t want to see others suffer as they have.

8.) You might need to crash and burn before you find your purpose in life.  Yes that’s right.  You need to get fired from your shitty job to realize that you are meant for so much more.  You need to get dumped by your unappreciative boyfriend or girlfriend to realize how strong you are on your own two feet.  You might need to flunk out of school to reflect on what you really want in your life.  Oprah got fired from her newscasting position when she was 23–look where she is now!  J.K. Rowling was on welfare and now she’s one of the wealthiest women in the world.  As cliché as it is: everything happens for a reason.  God is in control even when it seems like good and bad things happen at random.

9.) Don’t hide your true self.  Ever since I was younger I have been a creative person. As I grew up I heard constantly from every direction that you won’t make money in anything art related.  From there I went to study business, and *spoiler alert* I hated it and didn’t go back.  Don’t conform to the rest of the world.  You are who you are and that won’t change because of anyone else’s opinion.

10.) Be humble in everything that you do.  If you get a promotion, don’t gloat about it.  You never know if or when you will lose what you have.  There is a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and bragging with the intent to incite jealousy.  Know the difference. 

12.) Say you’re sorry–own up to it when you do wrong.  Don’t treat your friend like garbage, let some time go by, and then start talking to them again like nothing happened.  I can’t tell you how many times I have dealt with that in my life; it is incredibly frustrating and shows an obvious lack of respect.  When you have done wrong, apologize. 

14.) Do NOT find your worth in what you can offer people.  Stop trying so hard to please people that do not care about you.  This applies to your personal and professional life.  Stop killing youself to go out every time your friend asks you.  If you need alone time, it’s okay to say NO.  Stop trying so hard to please your boss that sees nothing in you.  Stop bending over backwards for people that couldn’t care less about you.  Your worth comes from you–not what others think of you. 

15.) Don’t hold in your feelings–you’ll explode one day and it will be ugly.  It’s not normal or okay to bottle up your emotions and keep stewing in them.  Since I am generally a very passive person, I let a lot of things slide.  I let them slide until I reach a boiling point and explode a disproportionate amount of built up emotion on an undeserving person who happens to annoy me in the slightest.  It’s something I’m still working on. 

16.) Be firm in your beliefs.  That doesn’t mean your beliefs won’t change or mature into something different over time.  What it does mean is that you should never let someone bully or manipulate you into sharing their thoughts and opinions on anything.  I frequently come under scrutiny for my religious AND political views– and guess what?  It doesn’t matter.  I don’t cry myself to sleep over it.  I remember when I was younger seeing posters all over my classrooms saying “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”.  In recent years that could not be more of the truth.  We have masses of people subscribing to false narratives because that’s where the crowd is going.  Stand up for what you believe even if you are standing alone (as overdone as that phrase is it needs to be said and actually put into practice). 

17.) Don’t hang on to resentment and anger.  You will never move forward with your life.  You will never be able to change past transgressions.  All you can do is accept them to the best of your ability and move on.  “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.” (credit for that goes to Reinhold Niebuhr).  This speaks for itself quite eloquently.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say 20’s are a bit rough.  If I can relate to or help out anyone with my own experiences or advice, then I believe I have done my job. 

Until next time


Oh my Lana! 

Lana Del Rey.  The embodiment of beautiful, and tragic.  The seductress has a mystique surrounding her that is anything but ordinary.  Enveloped in an aura of dark, sexual, melancholic tones, her music speaks volumes.  It’s music that doesn’t just have a catchy hook, but dark and beautiful lyrics.  Each of her albums follow a separate theme which seem to tie together in my observation.  She also seems to mature greatly throughout her musical career.  In her broken and beautiful ways, she has an alluring aura surrounding her.  With her music, it gives us a glimpse at human nature in its darker form, at the beauty of imperfection–the dark paths we all wander down looking for love.  There is something so genuine–so real about her music.  She is easily one of the most brilliant (and underrated) artists of our time.  That being said, I am highly anticipating the release of her new album on July 21st.

In accordance to her new album release it would only be appropriate to take a trip down memory lane and highlight some of her greatest albums (AKA all of them)…

Born To Die (2012)


Which you can buy on iTunes or Amazon:

This album is centered around what seems to be tumultuous relationships, getting into trouble, and young people finding their way in the world (through many questionable ways).  Walking the streets, seedy places/people, and lots of other mischief associated with growing up in a city area (such as NY, where Lana is from).

Born To Die – The Paradise Edition (2012)


Which you can buy on iTunes or Amazon:

This album is a continuation of Born To Die with very vintage vibes.  With titles like “Blue Velvet”, “Bel Air”, and “Burning Desire”, she channels the likes of old Hollywood.   With titles like “American”, and “Cola”, and “Ride”, it shares patriotic and carefree vibes as well.

Ultraviolence (2014)


Which you can buy on iTunes or Amazon:

I have to admit, when I first listened to Ultraviolence I wasn’t immediately hooked.  I listened to it a few more times a little closer and I was absolutely in love.  To me the album is telling a story of toxic love, power, and temptation.  This album was really a hallmark of her music maturing and growing into deeper melodramatic tones.  While Born To Die had melancholy tones, the album was generally a lighter mood/more carefree in comparison to this.



Which you can buy on iTunes and Amazon:

Lana Del Rey’s music seems to age like a fine wine.  Her most up-to-date album has a variety of different stories to tell.  In this album, she returns to her old Hollywood roots with titles like “Honeymoon”, “Swan Song”, and “The Blackest Day”.  Her song “God Knows I Tried” seems to portray failures amongst trials and tribulations.  She returns to her carefree and youthful themes with songs like “High By The Beach”, “Music To Watch Boys To”.

A few themes in particular seem to occupy most of her songs from album to album.  In all three albums you will notice the old Hollywood vibes.  Toxic love is a theme shared from album to album.  Melodramatic tones are present in a majority of songs from each album.  The self proclaimed “Queen Of Disaster” (which is a song of hers that is unreleased), portrays a beautifully tragic nature in all of her music.  Which brings me to my final topic, Unreleased music.

Unreleased Music


Some of my favorite Lana Del Rey songs are her unreleased ones.  These songs are some of her best work.  You cannot buy these but can stream them on websites such as YouTube to listen to them.

1.) Dum Dum

2.) Backfire

3.) You Can Be The Boss

4.) Axl Rose Husband

5.) Money Hunny

While I absolutely love her style, her old Hollywood feel, and her dramatic tones, I observe her somewhat glorifying this tragic, troubled lifestyle throughout her music.  However, I do not necessarily see it as negative; I see it as a glorious story being told over the course of several albums, exploring the darker sides of human nature (think “The Great Gatsby”) (which she produced music for!).  She explores dark and very real concepts of power (and what someone will do to get there), toxic relationships, failures, temptations, trials, and tribulations.  Most importantly, she is a sinner like we all are, she is trying like we all are, she is failing like we all are.  Her songs about heartbreak, love, and temptation are all too real and relatable.  Her albums are a masterpiece in my opinion.

I’ll conclude my post with saying that I have very high expectations for this upcoming album of Lana Del Rey.

Until next time…



*None of these images of Lana Del Rey belong to me*


“A picture is worth 1000 words.” They say.

I have been a creative person my entire life; I am always looking for new outlets to channel that creativity.  It seems that no matter how far I wander from my creative roots I always have this need to find my way back.  I have experimented with photography in the past with a point and shoot, which obviously cannot compare to more high-powered DLSR camera’s.  That being said, I (finally!) decided to take the plunge and buy a DLSR camera to practice and build my photography skills.  I am generally really hard on myself and my art no matter what medium that art takes, but am learning more about the art of photography every day!  Here are some of my favorite photos that I took recently.

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All of these photos, including the featured photo (The Lotus-looking plant) were taken with a Canon Rebel T6, with an 85mm lens (except for the 5th image down, which was taken with a 18-55mm lens).  Like I said, photography is relatively new to me, but I am constantly researching and learning about this art form.  All of these images were processed in Photoshop to capture different reflections of light and shadows to give each individual image dimension.

I just ordered a Canon 75-300mm Telephoto lens from Amazon and I am SO excited to take some full body portraits with it.  I have been studying other photographers’ work and taking in as much as I can.  Photography truly is an art form used to creatively capture a moment in time.  I don’t want to copy work that I see, but I do want to use it as inspiration to spark the creative process.  I am learning so much every day about different lenses and their functions, along with my camera’s functions.  Once my new lens arrives I will be putting up some new and different photographs along with information on how to create certain photos and achieve certain looks (based on my knowledge, research, and experience of course).

Until next time!