Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Product Review: Urban Decay "Eden"

When the Alice in Wonderland palette was released, I wrote endlessly about my love of the folktale.  Now that mother is in advanced stages of a terminal illness, I reflect on things from when I was young.  The first book I was able to read from cover to cover was Alice in Wonderland.  Even the cartoon was impressive to me, moreso than Cinderella and the others.  I admit the Cheshire cat freaked me out for a long time but this film has given me carte blanche to make purchases I would not permit myself to do.  Makeup should be an investment and I've streamlined/curbed my spending and enthusiasm greatly.  I did purchase the palette, and chose to give the new primer potion "Eden" a shot.  Primers have a purpose for me.  I need them. Primers prevent my shadows from creasing, and bases help the color to "pop" or can make the difference when an unpigmented color happens. 
Eden is opaque just like the original; however, this has a yellow tint.  Think of Benefit's Lemon-Aid that doesn't crease.  It goes on smooth and dries matte.  The original went on smooth, but my skin would look ashen or grey upon drying.  It worked for preventing creasing, BUT it would make shadows more difficult to blend, especially mattes.  Eden doesn't crease, and doesn't give me problems blending mattes.  I don't have the two bottles in order to compare the ingredients; however,  you can find detailed information here for current prices, locations, etc.
I did try it as a concealer for redness....that did not work well.  It will give dark skin a HUGE cast under the eyes.  Think Nicole Kidman and Taraji P. Hensen with camera flash.  Yes, which is why there is no photo of me with this.  "Why did you take the photo in flash then?"  Because that is the best way to determine if you will look a hot mess when you get photos back.  Anyone can look cute without the flash, but if an item will embarass you in a picture, one needs to know prior to placing it.  In real life, you can't tell and it does make the foundation go on smooth, but it's not worth trying with a flash or at "the club."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Living your dream and fly!

Two weeks ago, I had never heard of Shaun White.  I had seen a brief clip of him on telly and was awestruck.  The Olympics are bittersweet for me.  I cheer and cry at the same time.  When one works from the time they are old enough to walk, at something, and to see it come to fruition has got to be the most amazing experience.  I haven't seen anyone fly since Michael Jordan and this bloke is only 23!  He has so many years ahead of him.  I don't know him personally, and quite honestly, I don't care to.  I don't idolize people, I admire their courage.  It takes faith in yourself and courage to live your dream.  How many times do we fall down only to not get back up? This man had a nasty spill before winning and what did he do?  He got back up.  That's great mental toughness.  I think at least 90% of success starts in the mind.  But, many of us, carry the tapes of messages people told us.  "You're too dark, too fat, too short, too poor, too old, etc."  We all have people who want to steal our joy?  Why?  Because if they can't do it, you can't either!  FALSE! Over time those warnings subliminally choke us and turn into fear.  I get anxiety thinking about all the things I wish to do, so I write out what I want to do, then take each one and break it down into tiny steps, and then commit to doing one thing that is out of my comfort zone each day.  It's like eating an elephant...bite by bite.  We only have time, and whether we do "X" or not, we only have a certain amount of time on earth.  Being a spectator sucks.  There isn't one person who should hate on another person.  Why?  Because there is enough in the world for everyone, but we are our own worst enemy.  We watch other people on YouTube and wonder why we don't have "X," or we see someone selling "X" and say they aren't original, but at least they are believing in themselves enough to try.  I hate when I smile at another woman and she either pretends I don't exist or rolls her eyes and sucks her teeth at me.  Usually, she is getting ready to give me "the look."  I work for someone who makes it her point to humiliate me.  At first I started to let it get to me.  But I realized it wasn't me, it was her.  Why should I run every time someone doesn't like me?  No, I'm making my paper so I can invest in my dream.  I read about Anna Wintour when I was young.  I had all these ideas about her as I had heard the movie Devil Wears Prada.  But, now that I think about her, I admire her.  I don't get too frightened of callous or bitchy people, I've endured worse from people who said they love me.  But, if a man is strong and cut throat, he's being "professional."  Well, why is it women are supposed to be soft?  If you run your business and there are investors, subject matter experts, and other experts you work with, you have to keep that in mind.  It is admittedly hard for women to not blur the lines of business and care taker, but when your talking about multi million dollars, you have to be focused, and keep your eyes on the prize.  I'm hoping people will learn to exercise the power within themselves.  There is so much life out there and we don't know when we will be called home.  I used to think children outlived their parents.  I've seen people who are taking care of their senior parent and find out they have a terminal illness with less time than their parent.  I want to encourage all women to be the person they admire.  If it doesn't happen you know you tried, but go and get yours because we all have a skill and a purpose and it's not observing in silence whilst others live an abundant and full life.  Look around you at the successes of others, no one is better than you.  More opportunity or odds in their favor?  Maybe, but let God be your guide.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Product Review: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55

I bought this product after using up my MAC Prep and Prime MAC Prep & Prime SPF50.  I will review that later on, I cannot find my notes.  So, I heard about this product from a forum and thought I'd give it a go.  The reason I wanted this was not because MAC had done anything to my skin such as break outs or cystic acne, rather I had heard both MAC and Shiseido were good as primers for us oily skinned girls.  I've stated, and it bears repeating that my skin is an oil slick.  It's beyond rubbish and annoying in that I must blot every hour if not more.  First impression, the stuff is runny.  I didn't take a photo because I don't like the packaging.  It's hard and the stuff comes out like liquid.  It's not a lotion, it's not even thick as ketchup.  It runs down your face since I put it directly on my skin and the bottle is not to my liking.  It costs about $39.00 USD so it's not cheap.  I purchased mine here and was not quite sure if I should have gotten the cream or not.  (Please note:  They no longer have SPF 55 at Sephora).  I like that it is waterproof and is photo stable for protection against the sun and free radicals and it does seem to help keep my oilies at bay.  What I don't like is that you have to put something on top of this.  It will leave a bit of a grey cast on your face.  I put a powder on over it and it's fine and I haven't seen the ghost face in photographs which I've taken so far. I would recommend this to oily girls and those who are exposed to the sun on a regular basis.  If you live in a climate with stronger sun light you would benefit from this, but there are cheaper alternatives as well.  I don't know how long before you would need to reapply as I don't fancy the sun.  I do not get any compensation for anything so this is based off my experience and I've been using this daily for approximately three months.  I cannot compare it as extremely better than MACs so I won't commit to either one, but since I'm tallying how often I blot, this one seems to beat MAC by a few less blots during the mid day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Viva Glam Cyndi and GaGa for Brown Girls

Hmm... sometime you have to be willing to say things people won't really want to hear.  Like everyone else, I was really excited to hear about MAC's partnership with Cyndi Lauper and Lady GaGa for Viva Glam Beauty.  I love that MAC donates the proceeds towards AIDS research and continued strides to stop the spread of AIDS and HIV.  That said, do I think this collection works for everyone?  No.  Sorry, but after reading countless posts and seeing the reviews, I am passing on this collection.  As much as I love being a "Little Monster" to GaGa and enjoy Lauper's 80s tunes, I cannot justify purchasing these lipsticks for the following reason:
  1. The colours look warm even on my cool skin.  I have pigmented lips so it does distort the actual colouring, but...
  2. They are very sheer since they are sheens and for MAC, I like their amplified cremes and mattes, but not sheens.  They are buildable but...
  3. The colours are not suitable for darker women of colour.  Shots fired!  Yep, I said it.
I read about how people will make the colours "work" by using a dark liner and/or mix it with another lipstick and to me, if I have to "work" to make any item I purchase look presentable, I need to say, "Thanks but no thanks."  I read one beautiful sister say she would pair GaGa with a brown lipliner.  Really?  Is it that serious?  GaGa is a lite version of Saint Germain, which made most women look like they had eaten a powdered donut.  That's not a cute look.  Really, if you have money to the point where a $15.00 lipstick is worth mixing to look good, I'm happy you have it like that, but me? I can go straight to the chemist and pick up Wet N Wild for less than a dollar and put it on in the car and keep it moving.  Why do we continue to buy products that don't flatter us?  I have written letter to:  Physician's Choice, Chanel, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, and a few others inquiring about the selection (or lack of) for dark skinned women.  Yes, I get that extremely pale women and women with (add skin type, issue, undertone here) have difficulties, but if you have a large population of consumers who are not able to buy products from your line, you may want to add a few more pigments to your line.  If you're not sure, try a small sample and send it to Scandalous Beauty, Afrobella, Vex in the City and other beauty bloggers of colour who have a strong audience and see what happens?  If you can't justify the costs, cancel it and if the subject comes up, remind us of the test run and the fact we failed to buy and Bob's your uncle.  Until then, I say women should support the makeup which is made to be good for your skintone.  You can make things work, but even for some of the most beautiful (to the left) a colour can wash out a look or add a grey cast to a lovely bronze complexion.  Just say "no" if you have to work to make a colour friendly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making an Outfit Work-Curvy Girls Unite

Ugh!  I hate being one of those girls who can't take pictures to save their life.  I look at all these beautiful women on all these forums who look like they should be at New York Fashion Week or on the arm of some of these surreal looking men/women in the movies.  Well, I have to get over it and accept myself flaws and all.  So, I don't get to wear jeans, but we do dress casual, meaning we don't have to do the suits, etc.  So, I've had these red boots and wondered what I could pair them with that wouldn't look ridiculous. Granted, to some my whole style is ridiculous but I thought I'd give it a go with a leopard print dress I got moons ago.  It's not a dress I would recommend for girls who are stick thin, and have the "ruler" shape, nor an apple because it's not quite forgiving and the material hugs a bit like a bandage if you don't wear the right undergarments like support hoisery. It worked okay, and I'm not feeling too insecure wearing it, but I think I'll keep this to casual Fridays and keep the black blazer on standby.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Make Up For Ever Flash Palette Dupe?

I have been in lust with the 12 color flash palette from MUFE's line of products.  I love all of their products; but, we are in a recession and I'm working on focusing on what I have.  It's a struggle everyday, but I am not a professional blogger so my goal is not to sell products since I buy everything I have and this is not my living.  I'm also trying to reduce the amount of products I have which are near hoarding amounts.  So, when I found this little number for $6.00 at Urban Outfitters, I was happy and curious.  I've read that the MUFE one doesn't dry and creases a lot so it's best to not expect it to remain in place for long periods.  So, the price was brilliant, I've just swatched the colors and they are not as emollient.  That can be good or bad, but for my use, that's a plus.  This is going to be a base, not primer for colors which I wish to make pop with my less than stellar eyeshadows which lack pigmentation.  There is a bright yellow, fuschia/berry, white, robin egg blue, gold, granny smith green, silver, blue, coral and black.  Great diversity for mixing and creating different colors.  In addition, it dries to a powder.  It's not as smooth as the MUFE but it's probably due to the lack of mineral oil.  I can't give it a complete review in terms of endurance since it's been an hour; however, you cannot go wrong by trying since it's a fraction of the cost of the other and wears a lot longer.  If I don't post I'll forget since I'm prone to being scattered in terms of product reviews.  Not that I don't care, but my swatches look like graffiti compared to some of the blogs
I enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl 44 Geaux Saints!

I am not going to pretend I'm a life long Saints, fan because I'm not.  I've been a New England Patriots fan since forever, but I really wanted the New Orleans Saints to win because I felt the state of Louisiana could use a break.  Not simply a break, but their spirits lifted.  Hurricane Katrina has become the thing most people think of when they think of the Big Easy.  Unfortunately, they forget about Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) ever since.  The devastation of the hurricane was one thing, but the images, the poor disaster planning and lack of support by the government has left an ugly mark on the city of New Orleans, not to mention the financial setbacks, the blow to the economy etc.  It was time for good to smile down from the heavens to give the city a boost to remind them of why they were always known for the great music, night life, carnival and celebrations.  So in honor of the Saints, I sported their colors on my eyes.  I try not to be all about my face here, but today felt right. Cheers to you, thank you God!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Horse Treatment for Human Hair?

I don't know what to think about this product, but I'm giving it a try.  Why?  Because I am a product junkie and I like to experiment with products. 
I first heard of this product on one of my hair boards several years ago, but I was really not interested.  First, I had tried the Mane n Tail product line, and it didn't impress me, and secondly, it's for horses!  I don't like to put things on my hair that I don't know how my body will react.  I have quite sensitive skin, and I've had my share of eczema and don't wish to revisit that. 
This product is sold near me for $37.00 USD!  If you are interested in the 16 oz bottle, I suggest trying here for a lot less.  The price has gone up over the past several years and it may be do to the huge market for hair products which will grow hair.
I'm on day one of this, and I have not cut my hair and it's approximately waist length.  I'm going to do journal the progress of this over the course of six months and review it for: amount of hair growth, shedding, strength, elasticity, thickness and texture. 
I have read some reviews by other users who have reported both good and not so good results.  I think it depends on everyone's individual hair and how it's taken care of.  I am going to remain with my current regimen of how I protect my hair, what I eat, my nutrition and supplements for accuracy.  I won't be adding anything different.  Can't wait to let you know what happens and post photos as I go.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall Who's the Vanity "Fairest"...

I saw this on my Yahoo page and was feeling ambivalent.  I've grown up knowing that no matter how many, lip, ass, breast implants, the tanning, and the weaves, white will always be the "preferred" race even when it is emulating black.  Sure, we can adopt refugees from Haiti, Africa and other non Eurpean countries, but as long as your phenotype is lilly white, you will get preferential treatment in the media.  It's sad but true.  If a white woman has a fit she's "stressed" but if a black woman does the same, she's ghetto, hood, etc.  Now look at the girls VF has selected for their Hollywood 2010 feature.  The only thing dark is the hair on three of the nine actresses.  No Zoe, no Freida, no color. Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, et al; not one honorable mention.  It looks like a scene from Scarlet O'Hara but at least they had a black maid!  What's more, these ladies aren't even near the talent of Streisand, Lange, Mirren aka the real white Hollywood.  Seriously, I get that I'm just a girl who writes and my opinion doesn't matter, but I AM society!  I am the person who pays for their films, their music, they are marketing to my demographic and it's bad enough many of the adverts don't have foundations which represent women of all colors fair and dark equally, but now in 2010, I'm told that Hollywood is white, thin, rich and it doesn't matter whether you can act or sing because if you are cute we can market you and manufacture your style if necessary.  Shame on Vanity Fair and anyone who tries to tell me, "it's no big deal they have a right to put whoever they want on their magazine."  Well, guess what, I have gone to school, college, watched films, been taught etc, everything white my whole life, and until your world is where you have ALWAYS been a minority, you lose the right to tell me differently.  Especially when I see men who are livin the urban life, but would never wife a sister.  This was not something I planned to write about, but it's my job, my passion to take a stand about things that society says are wrong in an attempt to sell a facade which doesn't exist.  Women come in all sizes, shapes and colors, unlike the ads and commercial (L'Oreal) where we are all light, thin and aesthetically pleasing. 


Friday's OOTD and Day #1

Friday already?  Who am I kidding, this week has been a long time coming. I am starting something new and this will be my accountability once a week, perhaps.  I have been struggling with getting in shape.  I am not calling myself fat, but there is room for improvement.  I'm not one of those silly gits who say, "I'm so fat..." fishing for compliments.  I do have loads of concerns about my eating habits and nutrition.  I think I read about "You are what you eat."  It's true, when I eat crap, I feel like crap, and when I eat healthy it shows.  Unfortunately, I have to admit to bandwagoning.  I have tried every diet from A-Z, Atkins to Zone, but I am so lazy and this is not good.  I should not be winded when trying to do cardio, but I am.  My behind is absolutely big, but it doesn't need to be flabby.  I could have serious problems, but overtime, if one doesn't take care of their insides, overtime health issues can occur.  I don't want to start getting healthy, when I get a negative report from my medical practioner.  That's when your body is screaming "notice me!" So, I'm going to continue with increasing my water intake, walking (whatever), and begin some sort of program on Sparks People because it's self paced.  When I tried Julian from the fit clubs program, I was dead within five minutes!  I know that diabetes, high blood pressure and other health issues run amuck in my family so I need to incorporate a healthy diet so it becomes routine.  I don't want to do anything drastic, but I think it would behoove me to eat more fruits, vegetables, and less complex carbohydrates.  I think it would be good to adopt a fitness program such as dance, yoga, spinning, or cycling and make it part of my lifestyle.  It always feels good when I do it, but I get intimidated, frustrated, and eventually quit because I compare myself to others.  Not a good idea, so today is day one, and it's all about water, and veggies.  I'll still eat junk, but I live on junk.  I eat more processed foods than the city of New York and that's so sad. I'm asking for problems.  I hope if you are reading this and you need someone to encourage you to get healthy, happy, and in shape, drop me a line.  It's easier to do and find ways to stay motivated and reward yourself.  Cheers!

 (the shoes were 15.00 USD at Ross!)

LUSH ~ The Power of Marketing

So, I finally succame to the LUSH hype.  It was bound to happen.  If you watch YouTube tutorials on anything beauty related, ableit hair, makeup, skin, fashion, etc., you are bound to come across LUSH .  That's just the way it is, I don't know if people are sponsored or if they purchase it on their own, but it seems to be a cult fave among a lot of people out there.
I clicked the link to find a location near me and went to "check it out."  The first time I went was after Christmas during the sale where  you could buy one get one, or buy one and get two items for free.
I wasn't overwhelmed by the smell, I was underwhelmed by the set up.  It looks like a grocery store with soap and not vegetables.  They have various sections for hair, bath, and shower supplies.  I told the associate I don't take baths, and prefer things for the shower.  The options for showers are limited to gels and bars of soap.  Again, I walked around picking up various items and read the description and then looked at the ingredients and had a sniff.  Some scents are great, others are ... just okay.  I didn't like the sales assistant following me around because I'm quite the shopper.  I don't really impulse buys, and I don't like being sold.  I found two items and received no samples :(  Not a problem.  I knew what I wanted, because I read the newsletter, which I highly recommend for first time lushes or newbies.  The reason is, there are so many products, and they will do demos and promise you the soaps will give you everything short of an orgasm.  Real Talk!
The pros:  It's a fun store, if you like to play with soap and smell different scents, it's great.  They also list all ingredients so, while some soaps have no sulfates, you may find the really sudsy type like "Snowy Fairy" to irritate or dry your skin due to the sulfates.
The cons:  RIPOFF!  Seriously, you can go to Bath & Body, The Body Shop, and find better deals.  I'll even go as far as to include Victoria's Secret.  So, you say, "But they don't have bath bars or bath bombs!"  Yes they do, they just don't have them the size of softballs with pieces of candy, fruit, etc. attached.  It's also way OVERPRICED!  Seriously, I got a piece of Honey I Washed the Kids for nearly $10 USD and it came wrapped like deli meat, and because of the lack of soft water, it lasted a week.  Seriously, if people are buying this stuff in droves, they ought to be living in their bath. 
Overall, I'd not recommend this product unless you want to wash your money down the drain.  I went and found similar items at Ross and Marshall's for 1/20 of the price AND they had more moisturising ingredients than LUSH.  I'm not a fan, but I admire their marketing skills.  They are there with MAC on how to market.  Who would believe that a bath/shower would be so expensive?


Monday, February 1, 2010

GaGa for the Lady!

So we've all seen the photos from last night's Grammy Awards.  To me it was a great lesson.  When you watch the
Oscar's, you see fashion, when it comes to the Grammy's it's more about style and shock.  Most people don't know the difference between fashion and style.  Often the words are used interchangeably which is really confusing.  So, here's my take.  Fashion is all about trends.  If you go to fashion week, you will see debuts for upcoming "trends."  Don't expect the looks to stay, they are fluid and ever changing.  Style is, to me, something that is individual and like a fingerprint.  Your style is something which reflects you.  How you dress, the clothes you like, and how you wear them.  You can put two people in the same outfit and it won't make it a fashion "success" often one is a hit the other a miss.  Why? Because the attitude, accessories, and manner of which the individual wears the clothes.  I digress this post is not about fashion although I wonder if those heels are from McQueen.
A lot of people wonder what I mean when I say wear your hair in a protective style.  A lot of women have presumed I meant, heat protectant.  Well, sure, but that's not exactly correct.  Last night Lady GaGa wore a protective style.  Look close right  here ! See the outline of her face?  That's a front lace wig or a lace wig.  You can see the outline around her hairline.  If you do it right, you can make it look less obvious.  This is a great protective style for those who have the time, money and dedication to invest in their hair over the course of giving the hair a rest.  There are a plethora of protective styles which will aid in getting the hair healthy whilst taking time away from the heat, manipulation and learning to care for your hair's health.  I've missed writing here, but the Haiti earthquake was something that I needed to give and work on lately.